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text size: E-mail Print ShareClose Twitter StumbleUpon Facebook Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo TechnoratiDiscuss Published on Monday, February 8, 2010 by The New York Times
America Is Not Yet Lost
by Paul Krugman

We’ve always known that America’s reign as the world’s greatest nation would eventually end. But most of us imagined that our downfall, when it came, would be something grand and tragic.

What we’re getting instead is less a tragedy than a deadly farce. Instead of fraying under the strain of imperial overstretch, we’re paralyzed by procedure. Instead of re-enacting the decline and fall of Rome, we’re re-enacting the dissolution of 18th-century Poland.

A brief history lesson: In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Polish legislature, the Sejm, operated on the unanimity principle: any member could nullify legislation by shouting “I do not allow!” This made the nation largely ungovernable, and neighboring regimes began hacking off pieces of its territory. By 1795 Poland had disappeared, not to re-emerge for more than a century.

Today, the U.S. Senate seems determined to make the Sejm look good by comparison.

Last week, after nine months, the Senate finally approved Martha Johnson to head the General Services Administration, which runs government buildings and purchases supplies. It’s an essentially nonpolitical position, and nobody questioned Ms. Johnson’s qualifications: she was approved by a vote of 94 to 2. But Senator Christopher Bond, Republican of Missouri, had put a “hold” on her appointment to pressure the government into approving a building project in Kansas City.

This dubious achievement may have inspired Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama. In any case, Mr. Shelby has now placed a hold on all outstanding Obama administration nominations — about 70 high-level government positions — until his state gets a tanker contract and a counterterrorism center.

What gives individual senators this kind of power? Much of the Senate’s business relies on unanimous consent: it’s difficult to get anything done unless everyone agrees on procedure. And a tradition has grown up under which senators, in return for not gumming up everything, get the right to block nominees they don’t like.

In the past, holds were used sparingly. That’s because, as a Congressional Research Service report on the practice says, the Senate used to be ruled by “traditions of comity, courtesy, reciprocity, and accommodation.” But that was then. Rules that used to be workable have become crippling now that one of the nation’s major political parties has descended into nihilism, seeing no harm — in fact, political dividends — in making the nation ungovernable.

How bad is it? It’s so bad that I miss Newt Gingrich.

Readers may recall that in 1995 Mr. Gingrich, then speaker of the House, cut off the federal government’s funding and forced a temporary government shutdown. It was ugly and extreme, but at least Mr. Gingrich had specific demands: he wanted Bill Clinton to agree to sharp cuts in Medicare.

Today, by contrast, the Republican leaders refuse to offer any specific proposals. They inveigh against the deficit — and last month their senators voted in lockstep against any increase in the federal debt limit, a move that would have precipitated another government shutdown if Democrats hadn’t had 60 votes. But they also denounce anything that might actually reduce the deficit, including, ironically, any effort to spend Medicare funds more wisely.

And with the national G.O.P. having abdicated any responsibility for making things work, it’s only natural that individual senators should feel free to take the nation hostage until they get their pet projects funded.

The truth is that given the state of American politics, the way the Senate works is no longer consistent with a functioning government. Senators themselves should recognize this fact and push through changes in those rules, including eliminating or at least limiting the filibuster. This is something they could and should do, by majority vote, on the first day of the next Senate session.

Don’t hold your breath. As it is, Democrats don’t even seem able to score political points by highlighting their opponents’ obstructionism.

It should be a simple message (and it should have been the central message in Massachusetts): a vote for a Republican, no matter what you think of him as a person, is a vote for paralysis. But by now, we know how the Obama administration deals with those who would destroy it: it goes straight for the capillaries. Sure enough, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, accused Mr. Shelby of “silliness.” Yep, that will really resonate with voters.

After the dissolution of Poland, a Polish officer serving under Napoleon penned a song that eventually — after the country’s post-World War I resurrection — became the country’s national anthem. It begins, “Poland is not yet lost.”

Well, America is not yet lost. But the Senate is working on it.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company
Paul Krugman is professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and a regular columnist for The New York Times. Krugman was the 2008 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics. He is the author of numerous books, including The Conscience of A Liberal, and his most recent, The Return of Depression Economics.
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garlanddegreeff February 10th, 2010 2:44 pm
I think the U.S. is lost.
I had thought about taking my shoeshine kit (yes, I bought one after 365 days of unemployment on Jan 29, 2010) to the public areas near Goldman Sachs and getting back some of my tax money by charging $5 per shine. But I realize that the big heads walking past me wearing Bostonians could have me renditioned to Egypt and I would end up back here as breakfast sausage for my own son.
I thought about Obama simply saying that I am a terrorist because my presence near his friends at Goldman Sachs is a "clear and present danger." I'd have no habeus corpus, no lawyer, no trial, no communication with my son for years. There also are likely cameras near Goldman Sachs. My facial features (movie-star handsome, of course) would go into a database. My email would be read (it likely already is), my phone monitored, my house subject to no-warrant raids at 2 a.m. when I take my nightly pee.
Let's see, corporations run the nation, I am subject to monitoring, torture, rendition, blacklisting, threats to my family, death at the whim of a president, no lawyer in court, no gathering in a crowd even in public places, my facial, financial and ID data known to everyone and their brother. Yes, I think American is lost. It is a totalitarian state. The Supreme Court is helping make us into, at best, serfs, working for the corporations, living in corporation housing and shopping at the company store.
See dons-review-law-politics-science-philosophy.com
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Alcyon February 10th, 2010 2:50 pm
>>>garlanddegreeff wrote: The Supreme Court is helping make us into, at best, serfs, working for the corporations, living in corporation housing and shopping at the company store.

Frightening scenario.
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nigelUK February 9th, 2010 9:01 am
“Poland is not yet lost.”

I don't envy them their history, but I envy them their national anthem, the 'Mazureck Dabrowskiego', as I believe they call it. By contrast, "God save the Queen" (and let the rest go hang?) is the lousiest - no feeling, no rythm, no passion.

Like so much about Britain today.
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DC-CPH February 9th, 2010 6:12 am
Whatever happened to the nuclear option? As I recall, Republicans had the Dems pissing in their pants over that threat...
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John F. Butterfield February 9th, 2010 4:45 am
Senators, in return for not gumming up everything, get the right to gum up everything.
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Lingum February 9th, 2010 4:16 am
OK, I'm in the lifeboat. Now where do I go? Any suggestions? I'm serious.
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karlof1 February 9th, 2010 2:17 pm
A number of factors ought to influence your choice, the first one being whether you'll be welcomed by the country you wish to emigrate. (For the record, I'm building my lifeboat here in Oregon as I have too many responsibilities which make moving out-of-country a no-go.) An example is New Zealand, one of my top choices if I were to emigrate, where they'll be happy to welcome you IF you have a skill-set they'd like to have (google New Zealand emigration to get the official site). Australia also has potential IF you stay away from the metrolopitan areas in the country's south-east provinces. Otherwise, you'll likely need to learn another language and its related culture. If you're young and already know Spanish, I would suggest Venezuela. The whole process takes some thinking and research. I didn't mention Canada because it alraedy has.

Good Luck!
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saltmarch February 9th, 2010 10:30 am
Lingum: Come to Canada. Its close, we speak English (well, mostly) we're multicultural so no matter what ethnic group you spring from, you'll find company here. There's jobs, the banking system is the worlds best, its clean, relatively safe, there's free health care (well, the taxes might be a bit of a shock), a committment to the public good, the beer's stronger than there, we do have phones, the internet, and cable TV, and you don't have to live in an igloo, unless you want to. Its true the winters suck, but they're no screaming hell in Bismark N.D. either. We've got most of the worlds fresh water, lots of oil, bike paths, canoe routes, great fishing and even hunting if you like- You can learn to cheer for the Leafs (our lovable hockey losers) rather than the Anaheim Ducks or whatever they're called, and nobody will really mind much if you fly the Star Spangled Banner from your front porch. You don't have to learn our National Anthem cause most of the rest of us usually just mumble the words. You can join a union, learn French, have vinegar with your fries, or smother them in melted cheese. I think we have only one toll road in the country, which by the way is near four million square miles big and there are only about thirty five million of us to fill it- so theres lots of room. Bring your friends and relatives. Yu have to be willing to get along though. More or less. You can be hard core conservative or flaming socialist, gay marriage is legal, a bit of pot won't get you life in Levenworth.
Oh- you'll have to leave your guns at home, be prepared for a complicated political system that'll leave you shaking your head, and realize that whats considered left wing there is so far to the right here we must come from a different universe than you guys. Typical elections have ten or more parties , from Marxist to Libertarian. Don't try to figure out Quebec politics cause most of us can't either. Their bars are good though. Our most important and loved citizen, by National pole, is a deceased, bespectacled, socialist ex methodist minister who started our universal health Care system which we've had for almost fifty years. Its not without its problems but I don't think you'd find one Canadian in a hundred thousand (OK, maybe Danny Williams) who would trade it for yours. But you have to be willing to pay the taxes that provide it, and the public schools, the libraries, public services and the usual government waste.

I could go on. But, if you're really looking for an alternative for you and your family, consider us.
Or, you might stay there and try to help turn things around. believe it or not, we're rooting for you guys- we are your friends, despite our differences. We're saddened by what we see happening there, worried about you all, and many of us wish we could help in some way. Don't let the country that gave the world, among so many other good things, the Second Amendment, slip into hatred, acrimony, and self destruction. Its not too late.
Bill in Canada
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karlof1 February 9th, 2010 3:35 am
Looks like Nevada's lost. This report says the state could layoff every worker in the state govrnment yet still be $300 Million in the red, http://www.businessinsider.com/nevada-could-lay-off-very-worker-in
-state-government-and-still-its-budget-would-be-in-the-loss-2010-2

Its unemployment trust fund is already bankrupt and likely to borrow more than $1 Billion just this year. And Nevada isn't alone as over 1/2 of the states unemployment trust funds are bankrupt and borrowing monies from the feds, with six more states ready to join them this year,
http://www.zerohedge.com/article/majority-states-are-now-
insolvent-quantifying-disastrous-unemployment-situation

I predict that before the end of 2011, every state in the union will be bankrupt. And then there's the crisis in the EU that's yet to be mentioned.

The Titanic is sinking; better grab a lifeboat.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 10:38 pm
it's a moot question of course...

but in principle :

America WAS and has always been lost the moment "IT" "found" the "new world" and then stole land from the Native Indians.

Krugman and pundits and economists and all kinds of commentators say that Corporations, and their henchmen and women "steal" from americans -- the bail-outs, the empire overstretch bankrupting it, etc. etc. etc?

they are wrong in the scope of what they cover.

what began as a THEFT of land and lives from Native indians and other people...could only have continued as more theft of land, resources and lives and futures from MORE other people....

and the theft against ordinary americans is merely one of these as expression of "america lost".

it was born and grew in Theft - it will collapse in Theft.
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Bottle February 8th, 2010 8:34 pm
Barack and Hillary are bringing us down, too, with their niggle-niggles at Iran (taking a page from W's book of course). Have they ever met an Iranian of any stripe-- young, educated, enlightened person or jaded, stupid older cleric or pol? Did niggles work in either case?

Tell an Iranian not to do something and he or she will do it, simple as that.

I'm sorry, but every time I read a news story about Iran I get the feeling that we're baiting the place. We are. But why? And what good does it do? This state of affairs has lasted for at least ten years. We surely do need to start all over with new American politicians.

Please, though, not the Color of Tea Bag Party (the color of tea sludge being the only similarity between the Palinites and the overboard-throwing conductors of the Boston Tea Party).

Bring back Jimmy Carter, please, or somebody else with similarly basic good will, decency and common sense.
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 8:01 pm
Too bad CD decided not to publish Bob Herbert's Sunday op/ed instead of this Krugman tripe, URL:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/06/opinion/06herbert.html

Sure, this provoked a lot of commentary, but Herbert's column is more prescient and to the point, and would provoke a lot of commentary also.
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jclientelle February 8th, 2010 8:10 pm
Thanks for the link. The article was very good, especially for the complacent New York Times. Would have been better if it related the unemployment and crumbling infrastructure to our addiction to war. The war dollar creates far fewer jobs and more temporary jobs than other types of enterprise. So much is skimmed off on profiteering. So much of what is produced rusts in munitions dumps or grows obsolete in vast airfields or gets blown to smithereens. It does not improve the quality of life nor promote healthy economic activity.

Joe
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rtdrury February 8th, 2010 6:53 pm
"Well, America is not yet lost. But the Senate is working on it."

And this November, some 50 million USans will go to the polls and vote Demoks who will continue to prop up their Repuk gutter-mates, to keep the ugly status quo intact and on the current slow-motion trajectory to hell, in a casket of audacious hope.

Instead of that, the people could vote third party, where hope is bound to truth and reason, respect and responsibility.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 6:59 pm
rtdrury -- what is your "gut" feeling about where america ends up years from now? i mean - both politically, and economically? and do you and others still see ANY chance somewhere "within the american political system" of moving it away from what seems to be an inexhorable , almost self-willed, drive to national ruin , such that it can't come near its former coherence?
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 7:48 pm
Well, you can read my thoughts about most of your questions on this thread. But as to your last, I'd have to ask what you mean by "its former coherence."
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rtdrury February 8th, 2010 7:28 pm
Those are good questions, and I hope to read others' views on those. In my view, there are always silver linings to clouds, and many aspects of the USan structure are sound, given good intents, so we won't have to wipe the slate clean and start over from scratch, but simply reach a point where the people finally stand up and say enough's enough, and begin to help purge the society of the bad intents, the cult of evil. We can recover quickly after that point but not until we reach it. I'd say the transition will span five to ten years, and begin halfway into this decade, or maybe a couple decades from now, barring some mega-event. It's certainly hard to predict. Unfortunately, we may be lacking the events we really need, e.g. a major fossil supply disruption, though we can exploit whatever instabilities are created by the reckless elites, to help move the people's agenda.
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Kitaj February 8th, 2010 7:02 pm
This article by Richard Heinberg is a component of how I see things going.

http://www.postcarbon.org/article/67429-china-or-the-u-s-which-will
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teddy February 8th, 2010 6:28 pm
MEANWHILE....IN CHINA.....

Krugman of course is one of those that accuses china of "undervaluing its currency" as the answer to America's SELF_CREATED Illnesses (that is, "blame it on china", bottom line, forgetting, conveniently that america's ills had begun LONG BEFORE china even OPENED UP) ...and that world's biggest and main currency manipulator has always been the USA - Federal bank itself.

with that said...read on...

although a quote by the author Cohen (writing from china) of a chinese businessman (watches manufacturer) - gives a good answer to the now-common American accusations of Chinese "currency manipulation for unfair advantage"...

the Chinese - when asked about the perception of China "undervaluing your currency...what do you say about that?" - laughed and answered:

"nations act in their self-interest...if CHINA asked Obama to adjust its Dollar because it is good for the world...do you really think Obama and the USA will do that?"

touche, in other words.

==================

The New York Times

February 9, 2010
Globalist
The World's Watchmaker
By ROGER COHEN

NEW YORK — I’ve been thinking about Eddie Leung. He had lunch with me the other day at his factory in Dongguan, China, and appeared wearing a black yarmulke. “All my friends are Jewish,” he said.

Leung’s a good salesman, charming guy. He makes watches, about 1.5 million pieces a year. He makes sterling silver watches for the QVC home shopping network and watches with the famous crocodile emblem for Lacoste. He makes Juicy Couture’s hot young line.

Tommy Hilfiger, Jennifer Lopez, Coach, Titan, Trump — name the brand and Leung is manufacturing their watches in China’s southern Guangdong Province, the place that is now the world’s factory.

Leung was wearing a great hulk of a watch called a Bonja. It’s big in Gulf states, where it retails for about $4,000. Leung told me he’s paid $200 for this model and that leaves him a comfortable margin. For Juicy Couture watches that retail in New York for $95, he gets eight dollars. He’s still making money on that. In general he receives about 8 percent of the retail price, or about 40 bucks for a $495 Lacoste watch.

That’s called working the nuts and bolts of the high end. His company, Dailywin Watch Products, has been doing that since 1978.

Interesting work, Leung’s, for several reasons, one being how it illustrates the power of branding. Develop a cool brand and you can charge a crazy mark-up. Even for a product like a watch that nobody needs any more. Every electronic device from a basic cellphone up tells the time. So a watch is now redundant, no more than a fashion accessory.

It’s thriving in that role. You can be all-American like Hilfiger, or very French like Lacoste. Then you get China to develop that image at low cost. Authenticity is fungible in a world where Chinese men wear yarmulkes. (An affectation that Leung said draws a laugh from his New York clients.)

The quality here is not Swiss, but it’s high — “we are at 85 to 90 percent of the quality of Swiss made,” said Matthew She, the general manager. As a longtime U.S. resident of southern China put it: “Does America have a choice of a cheaper place for a quality product?”

Short answer: nope. China has the United States about where it wants it. You can make your own calculation of President Obama’s leverage over Beijing — and it’s heading south.

The average worker at Dailywin earns about $150 to $200 a month, before overtime, ranging higher for supervisors. About 70 percent of the more than 400 workers are women, many from inland provinces, living six to a room in on-premise dormitories and sending their earnings home.

I found conditions in the factory good — clean, a groomed garden, a large canteen. I also found Leung, for all his bonhomie, in a pensive mood. It’s been a rough 18 months in Dongguan since the Great Recession began. About two million jobs have been lost in the region, including a few hundred at Dailywin. Countless factories have closed.

Leung said his sales last year were down more than 20 percent over 2008, with the sharpest drop (over 40 percent) in January 2009. After a decade of smooth expansion, this was a shock. He’s had to slash costs. Labor and raw materials are becoming more expensive. Above all, Western consumers have taken a deep breath: “Now, you don’t just buy, you are looking for quality or real necessity, or you won’t spend.”

So, I asked Leung, given all these difficulties, what do you think of Obama’s demands that China revalue its currency, the renminbi, or yuan, which America thinks is undervalued, placing the United States, in the president’s words, “at a huge competitive disadvantage?”

Leung laughed. He’s a friend of Obama’s half-brother, who lives nearby, and he wishes the president well. But business is business. “Look,” he said. “Too much of that and we lose. Even a 3 percent appreciation is not good for me. Nations act in their self-interest. If President Hu Jintao told Obama to adjust the dollar because it would be good for the world, would he do that?”

The low renminbi rate is about growth, jobs and exports. That’s the fundamental underpinning of the Chinese Communist Party’s hold on power. China came through the downturn but, as Dailywin’s difficulties suggest, it did not come through unscathed. Jobs were lost, painful adjustments made. I don’t see China risking its renewed growth to cool U.S. Congressional ire over high American unemployment.

Leung’s got to sell his watches. All the ships carrying America’s toilet paper and aluminum foil and disposable razor blades through the Pearl River Delta — Guangdong Province alone accounts for over a third of U.S.-China trade — have to keep sailing or there will be unacceptable political risk. Exports still drive 9 percent annual growth, whatever the development of the domestic market.

A dollar at 6.83 yuan keeps Chinese-made global brands with their colossal mark-ups in the global mall. That’s an imperative even mighty America battles in vain. Which is why Eddie Leung’s time is not about to run out.
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Alcyon February 9th, 2010 2:19 am
Isn't China supposed to be a "communist" country? A "communist" country that has the second highest number of billionaires in the world (after the US, of course) should be able to take care of its workers during economic downturns better. I often comment about the elite in India enjoying luxuries while the poor in their country struggle. I think it's also true for China. At least India doesn't call itself communist. The Chinese leaders may have their reasons for letting things stand as they do. But it also shows that they are driven more by ambition, vanity, ethnic pride, nationalism, etc., and not so much by concern for their poor. There clearly seems to be internal exploitation within China. Before anyone attacks me by pointing to the evil West or the USA, let me tell you - this comment is simply based on this post by teddy. I think teddy is somewhat of a fan of China, too :) but this is about the mindset of the Chinese leadership that brands itself as communist. To me, it looks basically nationalist - nothing more. Unless they have a plan to truly become communist (right now, it can't even be called socialist) *after* sprinting through this growth period, after taking Taiwan, etc.
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Alcyon February 9th, 2010 2:05 am
I try to tell young people whenever I get a chance: "Don't get taken in by all the marketing hype. Don't bother with brand names, unless you know it's of superior quality and great value for money." Some of them think it's good advice, some give me a bland look. But I tell them anyway.
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rtdrury February 8th, 2010 7:03 pm
"About 70 percent of the more than 400 workers are women, many from inland provinces, living six to a room in on-premise dormitories and sending their earnings home"

Nothing could make a New York Times advertiser more giddy with excitement than the grotesque exploitation of human beings by the Great Globalization Godzilla by which it is contracted.

Ka-Ching, Ka-Ching, New York Times.
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metal February 8th, 2010 11:16 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

Leung's workers making $200/mo. max = less than a dollar an hour.
And the Republicans constantly gripe about American labor unions instead of "free trade" treaties.
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Saturnalia February 8th, 2010 11:53 pm
Well, the Republicans and their business partners would love to pay the people in North America less than a dollar an hour too. That's why they gripe about unions and love 'free trade'.

Think of how many people you could employ at that wage, if you had money to pay them, if you were not forced to pay them...
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sirios333 February 8th, 2010 6:22 pm
The mere existence of politics signals that the end is near. Politics is a symptom of the lack of self governance. The all pervasive societal disconnect to it's common basis as consciousness awake to it self, engages the intellect in believing that it is separate from this wakefulness which isolates the task of realizing unity to a finite process [ thinking in opposites]. The end and the beginning of anything, begin HERE and end HERE. The belief in movement as an escape from that [ politics] which sees the world as obstacle, needing freedom from an opposite, [democrat or republican], can only end here as unfulfilled idea[s].
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Kitaj February 8th, 2010 6:59 pm
"Politics is a symptom of the lack of self governance."

How very Taoist! Wilhelm Reich said that if human beings are incapable of self-regulation in relationship to, and in harmony with, the life process, then people require external authorities to tell them how to live life.

Also, "politics" stands for how the wealth of the world is going to be divided up and who is going to divide it and who is going to get what share. To actually be capable of living in harmony with a commonwealth, or as a commonwealth requires that people have the kind of integrity and virtue that only arises spontaneously in a state of balanced and integrated self-regulation, or self-governance.

In other words, only innately self-actualizing people are capable of a democratic commonwealth. Self-actualizing adults who can transcend their cultural programming received in social indoctrination and can thus live as free agents not bound by rigid dogma are the last thing elites want, which is why we have an education system and culture that churns out fearful drones who will pay and serve people who tell them what is real and what to believe in.
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metal February 8th, 2010 11:08 pm
Tao 30:

Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe,
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.
Never take advantage of power.

Achieve results,
But never glory in them.
Achieve results,
But never boast.
Achieve results,
But never be proud.
Achieve results,
Because this is the natural way.
Achieve results,
But not through violence.

Force is followed by loss of strength.
This is not the way of Tao.
That which goes against the Tao comes to an early end.

Tao 60

Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish. [Requires sufficient attention to detail so it won't burn--Metal]
Approach the universe with Tao.
And evil will have no power.
Not that evil is not powerful,
But its power will not be used to harm others.
Not only will it do no harm to others,
But the sage himself will also be protected.
They do not hurt each other,
And the Virtue in each one refreshes both.

Tao 61

A great country is like low land,
It is the meeting ground of the universe,
The mother of the universe.

The female overcomes the male with stillness,
Lying low in stillness.

Therefore, if a great country gives way to a smaller country,
It will conquer the smaller country,
And if a small country submits to a great country,
It can conquer the great country.
Therefore, those who would conquer must yield,
And those who conquer do so because they yield.

A great nation needs more people;
A small country needs to serve.
Each gets what it wants.
It is fitting for a great nation to yield.

Tao 78

Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people
is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country's disasters
deserves to be king of the universe.
The truth often sounds paradoxical.

Lao Tzu wrote the Te Tao Ching as advice to elderly & retired courtiers, would-be sages, young princes and rulers. His ideal for the rulers of his era (circa 2500 BC) was the "sage king." We had a sage president named Franklin Roosevelt once and Democrats in Congress who would listen to and act in support of his counsel. He wasn't perfect but he and his era of Congressional Democrats were a damn sight better than the walking 'for sale' signs we have in office now.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 6:32 pm
it is probably safe to assume that the USA is the one country that has the most "laws" and "rules" anywhere in the world, in place, and history...

which brings to mind its state -- and the underlying corruption in its entire entity....and what an ancient saying went (i think it was by a Roman personage , Tacitus? perhaps? ) ...

"THE MORE LAWS the greater the Corruption".
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metal February 8th, 2010 11:37 pm
While I've got the book open:

Tao 57

Rule a nation with justice.
Wage war with surprise moves.
Become master of the universe without striving.
How do I know that this is so?
Because of this:

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men's weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and cunning men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and the people return to the good
and simple life.

Tao 58

When the country is ruled with a light hand
The people are simple.
When the country is ruled with severity,
The people are cunning.

Happiness is rooted in misery.
Misery lurks beneath happiness.
Who knows what the future holds?
There is no honesty.
Honesty becomes dishonest.
Goodness becomes witchcraft.
Man's bewitchment lasts for a long time.

Therefore the sage is sharp but not cutting,
Pointed but not piercing,
Straightforward but not unrestrained,
Brilliant but not blinding.
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DICKERSON3870 February 8th, 2010 6:20 pm
RE: "Today, by contrast, the Republican leaders refuse to offer any specific proposals." - Krugman
MY COMMENT: Today's GOP is nothing but a 'random buzzword generator'!
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metal February 9th, 2010 3:29 am
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

Today's GOP is a glassy-eyed, hirsute-nostrilled Mitch McConnell booger generator with Eric Cantor turning its cranks.
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Nietzsche February 8th, 2010 5:49 pm
So it's pretty damn close to being lost wouldn't you say Paul?
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Shawn Berry. February 8th, 2010 5:10 pm
Alright, I give up too. I'm don't get it on the Democrats. Republicans would never give up like this. What's the matter with the Democrats anyway? They have the majority and they let one lousy Republican senator block a thing? I like Krugman but this article doesn't make me feel good. I can't believe the Democratic Party is doing nothing simple. It's ok that they're doing things according to procedure but I can't understand why they won't make anything simple.

I hate to think that the Democratic Party can't be repaired but I'm still hoping for something good out of them. I think I better read Howard Zinn's books which my wife just got as socialist and Richm advised. Maybe I might feel a little better?
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teddy February 8th, 2010 6:40 pm
Shawn Berry --- your wife - LOVES YOU deeply....that she got that book - for both of you...shows how much she cares about YOU to know more about "truth"...and to get you something that she feels might enrich your own life. that much is clear from your remarks and revelation .

THAT's LOVE - shawn. and you should give her a great big hug with all your love!,,,TONIGHT!!
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Shawn Berry. February 8th, 2010 7:29 pm
Thanks teddy. I still love my country and despite that stupid Washington, we Americans don't deserve to be laughed at as fools. Maybe there's a lot Howard Zinn knows that we don't.
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RichM February 8th, 2010 5:45 pm
One doesn't read those kinds of books in order to "feel better." You read them to gain a more accurate understanding of how society really works. The contrast between how it really works, and how our mainstream institutions claim that it works, is generally glaring, & not at all comforting.

Here's a nice new article to get you started: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/feb2010/pers-f08.shtml

Here's a snippet from that article:
________________________________

"...In domestic policy, the two parties have served distinct purposes for the ruling elite. The Republican Party has long been the most intransigent opponent of any measures to restrain the depredations of the financial elite, while the Democratic Party postured as the “friend of labor,” the party which advocated a greater measure of “fairness” or even “social justice” in the operations of the capitalist system.

The ruling elite has generally preferred the Democrats during periods of acute economic and social crisis, as in the 1930s and the 1960s, and today with Obama. Of particular importance has been the role of the trade unions, which have subordinated the working class to the Democratic Party and sought to block any popular struggle against the government, even more openly when a Democratic administration was in the White House.

This specific political role inevitably gives the Democratic Party a two-faced character. Republican politicians present their right-wing nostrums with an undisguised ferocity and determination. Democrats are typically half-hearted, insipid and insincere..."
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Shawn Berry. February 8th, 2010 7:33 pm
That's a really cool site. Thanks. I still love my country even if it's not about to go socialist yet.
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RV February 8th, 2010 5:28 pm
Nothing's the matter with the Democrats. If you're still hoping for something good out of them, they're playing their assigned role to perfection.
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Jim Shea February 8th, 2010 5:07 pm
I've just checked the "Statistical Abstract of the US" and it turns out that the 18 Senators from the 9 most populous states represent 22 times as many people as the 18 Senators from the 9 least populous states. THINK OF IT, TWENTY-TWO TIMES AS MANY PEOPLE!!! Is that democracy? Is that "one citizen, one vote?"

Jim Shea
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bardamu February 8th, 2010 4:49 pm
Not lost?

Sure been mislaid a while. Paul, you think Georgie laid it with Habeas Corpus?

The continent's still here, so which America am I looking for, the one that my grandfather saw run Apaches into Yuma with their arms tied behind their backs to a single long rail? The one in which the headline TROOPS OUT OF VIETNAM was followed by their entry into Cambodia?

The people aren't going anywhere, and the money wasn't mine anyway. If you're talking about the empire, we could always give most of it back.

If you're talking about the ideals, that seems hard to find in any weather.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 6:37 pm
bardamu:

"the one that my grandfather saw run Apaches into Yuma with their arms tied behind their backs to a single long rail? "

bardamu - even with an awareness of how horrific and evil things were that were done to the native Indians ...just reading another "instance" of that just makes one tear up ...it must have been so horrible for the Native Indians - to see their land stolen from them...and relentlessly being murdered , starved, enslaved, and ground into the soil and see their own noble , thousands-years-old cultures be murdered right before their eyes ....

how cruel...
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sugarsnap88 February 8th, 2010 10:26 pm
Taking land away from someone is so engrained in our national psyche that football,our major sports craze, is a metaphoric reenactment of land seizure.
Yardage is taken from the opponent by stealth and brute force until he has no yardage remaining. Then the game is restarted. No surprise that this game is played only in the US and Canada.
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karlof1 February 9th, 2010 2:07 am
And Australia, but oddly not in the UK, where it all started.
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Saturnalia February 9th, 2010 2:27 am
The idea of taking land by force of arms and killing/enslaving the locals did not start in England. That concept was a long established practice long before Boudica led a revolt against the Romans. Heck that idea was in use before the Romans kicked out the Etruscians(sp).
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karlof1 February 9th, 2010 2:23 pm
Saturnalia--I was relating my answer to the game and to where the English-speaking Peoples onslaught on the planet started. Conflict over a fundasmental resource base--Land or a food source--is as old as life itself. And the act of enslaving the losers predates the Romans by millenia and started in Asia.
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Alcyon February 9th, 2010 10:36 am
OK, then so how about, the English and the modern-day imperial powers of Europe raised it to a highly-sophisticated, ruthless art form? This particular project started with the Enclosure Movement, pushing out the peasants, who found getting on this ship across the ocean as an escape, the ships themselves under "royal charter", reaching the "New World" where they were joined by other "immigrants" transported across the ocean - except that their "head room" was often much less during the passage, conquering territory, naming them after sundry royals back home, sending back the goodies - from the Carribean as well as from North America, so the peasants back home could be put to work on the new industries, to build more ships, etc., and the aristocrats could breathe easy - knowing that there was a place to ship off what they clearly saw as "excess population", and so on? I can't imagine any other kingdom or empire taking land with such "sophistication" in the past. Oh, and get this, doing all this, and still remaining as a "respectable" nation that imagines itself as some kind of role model for the world? Now, that is something else. Not everything went as per plan,though, when some of the exports who called themselves Americans decided to cut loose. Then the English were "forced" to make up lost revenue and resources by focusing on Africa, India, etc. But somebody's gotta do it, eh? :)
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Saturnalia February 9th, 2010 12:03 pm
While I do agree that the Europeans were ruthless and somewhat sophisticated about how they raped and pillaged, what they did wasn't all that different from what other cultures did in the past. From my perspective it seems like humans have a rather nasty defect in that we're willing and able to look at other humans and see a target rather than a person.

[I can't imagine any other kingdom or empire taking land with such "sophistication" in the past. Oh, and get this, doing all this, and still remaining as a "respectable" nation that imagines itself as some kind of role model for the world? ]

Rome did just that. So did Greece under Alexander. The Mongols were honest about themselves and didn't pretend to be sophisticated. I haven't studied Asian history too well, but would expect that you'd find empires in that part of the world that pulled the same type of stunts that the Europeans did in the 15-1900s.

As an aside, the revenues of the Crown improved after the yanks cut themselves away from the empire. The 13 colonies weren't that great of a revenue source for the Brits...
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Alcyon February 9th, 2010 3:25 pm
I didn't say the revenues of the crown went down. I did mention Africa and India. I don't know what percentage of profits the East India Company ploughed back - but I read that their own profits were phenomenal. From taxes to monopoly trade to the opium business in China, I'm sure it must have been fantastic. And the crown took over from East India Company by the middle of the 19th century. So, yes, revenues should have been fine, I guess :)
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fd3200 February 8th, 2010 4:45 pm
I feel compelled to write though I have nothing of substance to add. I, too, believe that there is not the slightest chance of this load correcting itself before toppling into the abyss. I am 61 years old and regret that I brought a child into this world who will be here to live in hell when I am gone.

I want only to make a list of people who deserve the punishment associated with capital offenses, and then to see them punished. The list is long, very long, and all the people on it are, perhaps coincidentally, doing very well. Am I jealous, or am I merely one who truly hates injustice? I honestly believe the latter. "Surreal" is the best I can do to capture the experience of watching this spectacle of evil and the players who contributed to it, laughing at the rest of us. It is almost too much to take.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 6:51 pm
You should not regret for bringing a "child into this world" for you can leave your child YOUR AWARENESS and CONSCIENCE and care for good ethics as a human being -- and that way your child can carry on after you to HELP heal the world , in his or her own way.

be happy instead that despite what threatens to overwhelm this world - things that we talk about - your child comes from someone like YOU...a person of conscience and clarity .

be at PEACE with bringing a child into this world.

and...when you felt compelled to write ....and shared your thoughts -- THAT was of GREAT substance.

as in that old saying:

"there is no such thing as unimportant roles..only small-minded actors".

and the merest tinkle of a raindrop on the ocean out of countless drops can have great consequences...

as a buddhist saying went:

"a drop of water...meets with others ....and soon it is a stream and then a waterfall and then it joins the ocean..

an individual is like the drop of water.."

:-)
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 5:59 pm
Thanks fd3200 for expressing your thoughts. Go a bit further and address those thoughts to your congresscritters. They may never read them, but their aides will, or at least enough to know you are pissed-off to the nth degree. And such writing is theraputic. And as you see, there are many who share your thoughts; so, learning you aren't alone is also comforting. The next step is to take some sort of action, to at minimum network with those sharing your views or interests. Those steps will cause those laughing at us to grimace, for they are the first steps toward resistance and rebellion.
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ezeflyer February 8th, 2010 4:26 pm
Did we ever hear Bush talk about bi-partisanship when he got all his filthy bills through without a commanding majority?
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Jim Shea February 8th, 2010 4:19 pm
The US Senate is the result of a really bad compromise between the masses and the elite. If the writers of the Constitution had wanted real democracy, they would have established a one-house (unicameral) legislature (like Nebraska has) that is proportioned strictly on population. But most of the members of the Constitutional Convention were wealthy landowners, and they were determined to protect their own privileged positions. Hence the non-representative Senate. We've been stuck with it for over 200 years and there is virtually no chance of getting rid of it, no matter how dysfunctional it is.

Of course, the House is not free of problems either, nor are the other two branches of our government.

I wonder how a unicameral House of Representatives, half elected by states on a population basis, and half elected nationally would work.

Jim Shea
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Gorsegrower February 8th, 2010 5:36 pm
Now that we have the lowly electron to work with, there is no longer any need for the entire Congress. Representation is outmoded and corrosive.
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Gorsegrower February 8th, 2010 4:17 pm
It might also be noted that Newt's intransigence in 1995, which shut down the government, led to the introduction of unpaid help per the provisions of the Hatch Act, which prohibits Federal employees from working without pay.

Thanks for the clarification, Mr. Krugman, I could not recall what the putative issue was. But I knew that one of the unpaid volunteers placed in the White House was a young lady named Monica Lewinsky.
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Transition Analyst February 8th, 2010 3:46 pm
Mr. Krugman's comments broadly illuminate the political construct that has evolved in our country that fulfills FDR's fear of Fascism. We have come to that place described in an earlier post. The Posts to this article struck me as correct in their implications for America's future. Undeniably, there is a time when the bills all come due.

To those who assert that America has been the "Big lie" all along, they describe a process not yet true. The construct of Government we labor under is the "Lie manifest". The Truth is deep inside of every lie. The Truth of America resides in Democracy, the Force of its greatness flows from the heart of its people. The rhetoric of this grand design of Government where "the people rule" has provided the equilibrium to balance the atrocities committed in its name.

When the truth is "lost within the lie" Power masquerades as force and is defeated. I am struck even more as I witness the words of Eisenhower, FDR, MLK, Jefferson, Lincoln and others posted on these pages who gave clear warning to the events now unfolding. I am encouraged that these words, rooted in our conscious will grow and flower as Truth. America may still become the place where Mankind will know the fruit of a "True Democracy".

There are deep and divisive forces in our county if ignited, could bring about implosion and chaos. Many of Mr. Obama's positions are designed to mitigate these forces until we can move to a place where Reason might become a useful tool in charting a new course. The tactics being employed by Democrats, and Republicans alike to serve their interests before the interests of the people deserve the exposure they are getting by Mr. Krugman. Journalism perhaps has not lost its courage. Journalism has begun a proper conversation. We can continue it.
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RV February 8th, 2010 4:14 pm
"The Truth of America resides in Democracy, the Force of its greatness flows from the heart of its people."

Gee, and all this time I've been trying to distinguish between the "heart" of ordinary Americans and the "force of greatness" currently flowing from the U.S. to other nations. As for the "truth of America" residing in democracy, I've been a little shaky on that point too, especially in light of some recent Supreme Court decisions. Thanks for sorting it all out.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 6:56 pm
so far the "force of america from the heart"

that it tries to forcibly export through the CIA, NSA, ARMY, and its corporations..etc. that it calls "democracy" is being REJECTED after the FAILED "experiments" -- by countries like :

UKRAINE, LATVIA, ESTONIA, ICELAND, IRELAND........duh....

as Vladimir Putin said (no "democrat" he)

to george bush trying to get Putin to "reform russia" towards "democracy"...:

"welllll.....we really don't want the kind of democracy you have ......over there in IRAQ".........
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Transition Analyst February 8th, 2010 5:56 pm
RV
"Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning". The Promise of God is Tomorrow. What we do with it is our choice. So we look always to the future, understanding what brought us this far. The Force that removed Slavery, gave women the right to vote and moves to address the rights of homosexuals and others disenfranchised comes from the principles espoused in a Democracy. "We" you and I and the countless souls that form the "Heart of America" hold these truths to be self-evident". The election of President Obama is the result of this ideal fulfilling itself. "We" the people respond to the needs of humans suffering in Haiti and countless circumstances each day. "We" the people, wherever and whenever we can, as often as we can, ought to stand for a Democracy that taps into the "Heart" of the American People. I know my Friend that Force to be irresistible.
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RV February 8th, 2010 6:26 pm
"The Promise of God is Tomorrow."

I can't argue with that. Nor would I try. Find reassurance and comfort wherever you can, by all means.
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 4:10 pm
"Many of Mr. Obama's positions are designed to mitigate these forces...."

You are deluded if you actually belive what I quote. I refer you to my comment on this item, and to my many previous comments.
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Transition Analyst February 8th, 2010 7:17 pm
Karlof1

Universal wisdom is universal belonging to no one, so I quote when the occasion presents itself.

On Mr. Obama's positions:
"No day can be evaluated until all the days are in" (A.M.E. Bishop, circa 1984, actual origin unknown"). So Time will be the fairest Judge of Mr., Obama and all of us. While chaos is prerequisite to Creation, the process can be incremental; you don't have to set off all the bombs at once.

The job Mr. Obama holds will prove his mettle. We hope for the best, for our sake and his.
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 3:30 pm
The comment noting that to be lost America must be going somewhere seems correct but is not. The US is trying to establish Full Spectrum Dominance of the Planet, which is indeed going some where. It would be of immense benefit to the planet and its people for the USA to become truely Lost in its endeavor to control the planet and its peoples. The stated goal is supported by both Reps and Dems, so they are also enemies of the planet and its peoples. This line would continue to include almost all US governmental institutions.

Many will recall the various villans drempt by Ian Fleming and brought to life in his Bond stories. Dr. No and Auric Goldfinger along with SMERSH live today in the USA. Even the makers of Bond Films noted this with "The World is Not Enough." Commenting on the idiocy penned by Krugman is a waste of time as he's a part of the overall problem.

For some time, I thought it possible to peacefully change the governing foundation and intstitutions of the United States federal government, but after 2006 and Pelosi's refusal to do her job and impeach the top layers of the Executive, I decided to see what the Democrat winner in 2008 would do--one last chance. Needless to say, Obama is a total failure and is thus Public Enemy #1 as well as International Terrorist #1. There are too many bad guys for even James Bond to wipe out, and he'd have to start with his own government anyway.

So, my conclusion is we'll need to wait for collapse to occur before real change can come about, which is an event I view being more peaceful than outright Revolution or Civil War--but those two possibilities cannot be ruled out in the chaos to come. Such a conclusion saddens me, but it doesn't render building alliances moot or working to insulate myself and locale from the future's ill-effects. It may seem that such a conclusion amounts to surrender, but it does not. Rather, it recognizes the current and near future state-of-affairs and allows me to go forward to prepare for my future security and that of my extended family. It is a conclusion acknowledging the sad fact that the US federal government is against me and billions of others--that its War OF Terror is against everyone except the few benefiting from it. That it is Totalitarian.
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RV February 8th, 2010 3:45 pm
"The US is trying to establish Full Spectrum Dominance of the Planet, which is indeed going some where."

While I can certainly agree with your commentary in general, I think it omits one central issue: On whose behalf is 'full spectrum dominance' to be achieved?

I'm not at all certain that the answer to that question involves the U.S. of A., per se, going anywhere but down the tubes. That is unless one redesignates certain interests as constituting the nation entire.
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 4:49 pm
The Corporadoes (who aren't all US nationals) who own the federal government's politicos and bureaucrats are the sole beneficiaries of FSD. That's generally understood by most CD readers, but it was an error to omit that point.

As to the concept of National Interest, historian Charles Beard wrote two volumes about it that languish unread in college libraries: "The Idea of National Interest" (1933) and "The Open Door at Home" (1934). As the publication dates sugget, he wrote about the national interest at a time when it was clearly already divided into two sorts of interest--elite and public, which as he shows were not compatible, with the elite interest being responsible for the Great Depression, thus undermining the public interest. You would think such important works would be on the reading lists for all US History majors--Wrong!! Fast forward to the late 1980s and we have Christopher Lasch reconfirming the divide noted by Beard in his "Revolt of the Elites." And quite a number of others before and since (C. Wright Mills "Power Elite," for example) continue to echo both, but few have read them or have drawn the right conclusions. There's a table in "Friendly Fascism" that attempts to illustrate what constitutes "The Establishment;" and although the book's over 30-years-old, the table is generally correct.

There's a parable present at the conclusion of "Return of the Jedi" that's appropriate: Darth Vader must die for the Good within him to Live; but for Darth Vader to die, he must first destroy The Establishment represented by Palpatine, which is what causes his death. I would say the great mass of The People is whom Darth Vader represents, with the Jedi and their Rebellion representing those few of us on the Far Left who clearly understand the overall situation. Destroying The Establishment would transform The People into the freedom fighters they must become, some of whom will die, in the final battle at the end of the Class War that restores the Republic.
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RV February 8th, 2010 5:00 pm
Yikes! Scary! I was with you right up to that last sentence. I'll buy it if you'll agree to substitute 'establish' for 'restore.' ;)
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 5:44 pm
I was thinking of Franklin's quip of "... a Republic if you can keep it" when writing that last sentence. A democracy we've never been, nor was Athens, where the term comes from. Republic, or Res Publica in Latin, roughly means public affair. As the Indian in "The Outlaw Josie Wales" said: "It is good to know these things." And at some point, "Hell [will be] coming for breakfast."
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RV February 8th, 2010 3:05 pm
Not yet lost, Mr Krugman? I think you'll find that almost all of the financial "masters of the universe" have already made up their minds to the contrary. From their perspective, the trick is finding ways to abandon the sinking ship without rocking the boat so badly that you end up on the bottom with it. That also includes foreign creditors, BTW.
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ubrew12 February 8th, 2010 2:29 pm
This article has unearthed some long-buried Polish jokes from my memory. Do you think they'll make 'American' jokes after we're gone?
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Saint-Just February 8th, 2010 2:46 pm
How many Americans does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Four.

One to torture the employees at the light bulb store, one to blow up the light bulb store, one hand over the light bulb contracts to friends, and one to land on a carrier deck and proclaim that the light bulb has been changed.

(Feel free to adapt for the No-Change Obomber era . . . )
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ubrew12 February 8th, 2010 3:06 pm
How many Americans does it take to pass legislation in the Senate?

One, if his name is Exxon.
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sheepherder February 8th, 2010 3:37 pm
I assume that Exxon (as a person) will be running for a Senate seat this Fall.
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ubrew12 February 8th, 2010 3:44 pm
Exxon will run for, and win, ALL the Senate seats if we let him.
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dubet February 8th, 2010 6:30 pm
then we can rename the White House the Exxon House, like sports stadiums...
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Mordechai Shiblikov February 8th, 2010 1:18 pm
And with the national G.O.P. having abdicated any responsibility for making things work . . .

They assume, probably correctly, that this will bring them back to power. As has been pointed out numerous times, the Republican party is not a serious party. They are crazy; they are evil; but they are not serious. If they come back to an absolute ruling role in the federal government it will greatly hasten this nation's demise. I don't agree with Mr. Krugman. The USA will go out with a bang, not a whimper. There is one privately held gun for every citizen in this country.
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Define Freedom February 8th, 2010 1:18 pm
This poo hole of a country cannot collapse fast enough for me. Most of us are already peasants. Time for the pretenders to take their place amongst us.
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tammons February 8th, 2010 2:14 pm
How much time does the USA have left if it is not lost? I'd give it 4-6 years longer. Time for a lurch to the right and for things to get much worse-- then calls for leaving the Union-- not only from the right but from the left. Exciting times-- with luck I will not live to the disolution but maybe in a way I cannot even see-- it will be for t he best.

I think the only deliverance is to get rid of the Senate itself. It was put in place as an instrument of obstruction from the start. It was so unreservedly pro slavery that after the civil war there were serious attempts to get rid of it. In the Guilded age it gave us the Senator from Standard Oil. It was a miracle that Civil Rights legislation went through its philabusters, (bless Lyndon Johnson) and relics of that time like Senator Bryd still roost there. And today its rules are once again more precious to the office holders of the Senate than any concept of the public good. Remind me again why we need a Senate. It's only function is to thwart the majority and the public good. It is so unrepresentative that 11% of the population controls 40 seats, 18 % controls 51 seats. The nine most populous states with 50% of the population get 20% of the chamber's votes. Just as the aristocracy of our slaveholding founders wanted it to be, just as the plutocracy of Corporate America has deemed it should be. Keep the rabble out--don't give them a voice. The rabble is us.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 12:27 pm
America is most certainly in decline, strangled by the MIC, and as Krugman at least suggested, paralyzed by a dysfunctional Congress.

Is there any hope? Not from any top-dawn solutions and we'll have to give up our fantasy of American exceptionalism. We'll have to rework local communities to more self-sufficient models. And the American people with have to give up their habit of ignorance.

All mighty goals, but I pray not hopeless ones.

Gary

“Our goal is for them to go back and be productive in their communities and take back what the devil has stolen from them — their respect, identity.”
-- Albert Flores
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Quinty February 8th, 2010 12:23 pm
So how should the Democrats respond to Republican intransigence?

They should highlight it. Dramatize their behavior. Call their bluff.

If a Senator threatens to object to every procedural measure by calling for a vote, let him do it.

If Republican Senators filibuster important legislation, then let them read the phone book at 3 AM.

Dramatize what they are doing, and let the American people watch.

The Senate used to be ruled, Professor Krugman tells us, by “traditions of comity, courtesy, reciprocity, and accommodation.” And the filibuster was once used sparingly, for special occasions. Now it is a mere legislative tool. The more this is publicized the better. And though the filibuster has been used to block some appallingly rightwing candidates for the bench, etc., it may be the lesser of two evils to finally let it go.
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Progressive101 February 8th, 2010 12:05 pm
"... including eliminating or at least limiting the filibuster. This is something they could and should do, by majority vote, on the first day of the next Senate session."

Dear Krugman,

The Democrats could have done this anytime during 2009; however, they don't because the gridlock serves them well. Look how much more money they raised having the healthcare debate go on for most of 2009. The Democrats are not representing the people. They care about power and incumbancy. Both parties are corrupt. When you get on the Sunday morning talkshows, try exposing the corruption of both parties instead of following the mainstream talking points that this is all just political differences between the Democrats and Republicans. In other words, use your Sunday morning platform and NY Times articles to make a difference.
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Define Freedom February 8th, 2010 1:13 pm
And be fired on Monday.....
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sneaker February 8th, 2010 11:58 am
My assessment is that the USA has passed the point of no return.

Only a massive purging, which in itself would be catastrophic in scale, can cleanse it.

Save yourselves, progressives. You've done what you could.
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chaokoh February 8th, 2010 11:49 am
The Dumb Ol' USA is unraveling just like the USSR did. Stupidity is a luxury that Americans very soon will no longer be able to afford.

The USA had its chance to change course and it blew it completely. What the USA is becoming, the world can do without.

As for fat candy-assed Americans, it will soon be time for them to get re-acquainted with the physical and spiritual uplift that comes from subsistence farming and from fixing things rather than throwing things away.
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NC-Tom February 8th, 2010 1:09 pm
"The USA had its chance to change course and it blew it completely. What the USA is becoming, the world can do without."

Here is a recent quote form Lech Walesa, that backs up what you said:

"The United States is only one superpower. Today they lead the world. Nobody has doubts about it. Militarily. They also lead economically but they're getting weak. But they don't lead morally and politically anymore. The world has no leadership. The United States was always the last resort and hope for all other nations. There was the hope, whenever something was going wrong, one could count on the United States. Today, we lost that hope."
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WTF February 8th, 2010 2:16 pm
Lets put this in context. Walesa said this while endorsing candidate Adam Andrzejewski for the Republican gubernatorial in Illinois.
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Laurenceofberk February 9th, 2010 1:41 am
Yes. And quoted admiringly by Rush Limbaugh.
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NC-Tom February 9th, 2010 12:11 pm
Very interesting. So you too guys don't think that what he said was true just because he said it in support of a republican? His analysis seems pretty "spot on" to me. Things really came to a head under Bush and is simply being continued under Obama as far as I can tell.
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Gail February 8th, 2010 11:44 am
"Today, the U.S. Senate seems determined to make the Sejm look good by comparison."

Yes, the wizards and harlots on Captiol Hill whose philosophy is "socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest" will destroy this country and its citizens.

"The first truth is that the liberty of democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism-ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Unfortunately, the cattle-status voters will once again resurrect the wrecking crew as the "audacity of hope" fades and they cling to the falacy that Republicans are the "new" hope.

As history has shown, fear and ignorance are a deadly combination.
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gladtobeincanada February 8th, 2010 11:29 am
America is not yet lost?

Well, it can't tell its ass from its elbow. It can't stop chasing its own butt, so blind, yea, stupid, sure.

But lost? Nah. It has to be going somewhere in order to be lost.
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Joe2aT February 8th, 2010 11:22 am
I truly believe that America is lost, it's days numbered. It is a downward juggernaut---unstoppable as it races to 3rd world status for 75% of its citizens. I think all individuals 55 and older should circle a year on their calendars, their best guess when they might expire using actuarial tables and such, and just pray like hell that they get there before the whole country topples---pray that at least utilities, some semblance of medical care, and food transportation hold in place until that fateful day. The more we hope that someone will lead us out of this muck, the more we read about worsening paralysis in leadership, billions of dollars in bribes to Congress, millions more people thrown out of work and home and into the grips of poverty, crumbling infrastructure, unaffordable health care, etc. Every day becomes just another struggle keeping body and soul together for all but the wealthiest 5%.

I'm approaching 60 and I'm praying I hold on for just another 15 years with some semblance of civilization in place until I reach 75---if I do reach 75. For the youngsters in this country I'm afraid I haven't got any encouragement to offer them, just a prayer that that they somehow find a way to survive what is coming soon.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 7:14 pm
I'm not yet 55, and poor...but I am already "circling" that way...

but as to "where" america is , a quote from a NY times Article By Richard Cohen, reporting from his China Visits:

"As a longtime U.S. resident of southern China put it: “Does America have a choice of a cheaper place for a quality product?”

Short answer: nope. CHINA HAS THE UNITED STATES WHERE IT WANTS IT.

You can make your own calculation of President Obama’s leverage over Beijing — and it’s heading south."

THERE were numerous observations even more than ten years ago that went like this:

"while the USA is bent on imposing its global empire in every corner of the globe with its might and superpower status...china is quietly encircling america with small gestures in a game of power played not with overwhelming force but of subtlety and should the two come to blows...america will die a death from a thousand cuts".
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NC-Tom February 8th, 2010 12:55 pm
I completely agree with your post. I am 52 and suspect my later years are going to be grim as the american empire collapses. We personally have downsized our lives, and have enough land to grow quite a bit of our own food, and if things get real bad, cut our own fire wood to heat our house.

Every time I look at very young children I feel so sad for them. The world they will inherit from us is going to be a bleak place. I suspect the second half of this century, will be racked by the ramifications of the decline of world supplies of oil, water, farm food, fish, metals and resources in general. Also during the later part of this century we will be dealing with some of the results of man made climate change.

People graduating from college now will be the among the first generations, as a whole, to do worse financially than previous generations had. They will continue to chase the american dream that no longer exists. They are coming out of colleges with crippling debt, and no decent jobs to be had to pay it back.
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Saturnalia February 8th, 2010 1:25 pm
I graduated university in '97, few of my peers have been able to pay their student loans buy a 'new' car or think about owning their own homes. The ones who were able to get the toys had parents who footed the whole bill of college. The debt trap screwed me over quite nicely thanks. When my father was my age, in the 1960s, he was able to support a wife and buy a home on ONE income. I couldn't think of renting an apartment and running a car at the same time, it was one or the other.

Gotta love the results of trickle down economics, and 'free' trade. I don't think the crap's going to hit the fan in the second half of the century. Too many fundies believe their 'end time' prophecies, too many of the poor and formerly middle class are pissed about how much worse off they are than their parents were. And the debt load of the us gov't is too high for them to pay it off without repealing all the Bush, Reagan and Kennedy tax cuts. Something no politician is even thinking of talking about let alone making happen.

No, it's not apres nous le deluge, c'est maintentant! (it's not after us the deluge, it's raining now!)
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NC-Tom February 9th, 2010 10:09 am
I understand what you are going though. I have a niece that just graduated Wesleyan in CT. loaded up with college debt and the only job she could find was teaching English in China, so she took the job and now lives in China.

I graduated high school in the 70s, and got a $1800 grant to go to a 6 month computer tech school. Back then a high school diploma meant something. My first job was in a metallurgical lab where I did spectral analysis of precious metals. I worked there for a while then moved to the computer field where I worked for almost 30 years before getting outsourced. I did very well for myself, and have loads of experience but now I can't even land a job as a security guard. In my 30 year work life things have changed for the worse for the average american worker in such a fundamental way, that it is truly stunning.

When I said the crap is going to hit the fan at the end of the century, I meant the REALLY bad stuff, where the world may be almost unreconizable from the way things are now. Things are bad now financially for many people, and will get much worse in the short term, (next 20 years?). But that decline will be nothing compared to when we crash into peak resources like Oil, Water etc.

My advise to any young person like you is to work on self employing yourself at some job that can not be outsourced. I would not recommend to any young person to enter the world of large corporations anymore.

Tom
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Saturnalia February 9th, 2010 12:07 pm
I hear ya. Although I still have some hope that the crash can be avoided. No idea how, but hey, gotta have faith in something...
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readytotransform February 8th, 2010 10:32 am
I beg to differ with the author.

I find it profoundly tragic! Torturers of the world tragic.

Maybe Nobel Laureate Krugman should read Chris Hedges piece of today.

And he thinks republican gameplaying is our big problem. Get real.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 7:21 pm
America's problem - has become the world's problem .

in one sentence it is this:

the PROBLEM is AMERICA and "our BIG BOSS: our Supernationalistic Capitalism" -- General Smedley Butler, US Marines, 1933.

for being the two faces of the same coin:

america and capitalism are the problem.
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DCH February 8th, 2010 10:28 am
"Cassius:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
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Ted Markow February 8th, 2010 11:43 am
Reminds me of a quote on the Holocaust Museum:

"Be not a victim. Be not a perpetrator. Above all else, be not a bystander."
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Vern February 8th, 2010 10:22 am
Whose to hold any of these asswipes accountable?
They rally against pork and the deficit and then hold everything hostage til they get their cream off the top.
Stil Krugman is such a partisan hack. Note how he frames the Right as bullying Clinton by demanding sharp cuts in Medicare, but when it comes to the corporate Democrats, efforts to reduce the deficit are "any effort to spend Medicare funds more wisely"

The fall is worse than you think, Mr Krugman, considering your blindness to half of it. Paralysis may be preferrable to Obama's efforts to transfer the burden from your class to the majority of the citizens.
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Greg R February 8th, 2010 10:37 am
Yes, we all know Democrats suck, but look at outcomes. Look at the 5 corporatist, activist Supreme Court Justices that Republican Presidents have saddled us with for the next few DECADES. Then go ahead and vote for a Republican or independent, knowing that it's not much different than slow motion suicide.
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Big Mac February 8th, 2010 2:52 pm
"....Democrats suck, but look at outcomes."
Greg, I have looked at outcomes. I've played the game. I've voted for Dems just to keep the Repubs out. Look where we are today. Bush's 3rd term is in full sway, albeit much better articulated.
You know what? I'm sick of playing defense. I'm sick of throwing my vote away on worthless Democrats.I'm sick of this political charade we have and I'm sick of seeing the real villains "getting away with it."
Enough. I strongly recommend a great book, Indispensible Enemies by the late Walter Karp. What an eye-opener. The 2 major parties truly fear reform far more than they fear each other. So lets begin now finding, building alternatives to the duopoly of misrule. If we wait for the Democrats to push through reform we might as well wait to see pigs flying through a frozen hell.
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dubet February 8th, 2010 6:22 pm
Indispensible Enemies was a very informative and important read...it is difficult to accept that one's entire life's substructure is fraudulent, but there is no way to make meaningful change until that realization occurs...

the American government is fraudulent...the American citizen has no representative...
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mtdon February 8th, 2010 1:59 pm
if someones drowning what's really the difference between being thrown a 25 lb rock(democrats) or a 50 lb rock(republicans)?
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Saturnalia February 8th, 2010 2:35 pm
Well, the rope attached to the repub rock goes round your neck; so death is quick.

The rope attached to the dem rock goes around your foot; so death is not as quick.

Maybe I have that bass akwards...
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 3:35 pm
If the water isn't too deep, you still have a chance to live with a rock tied to your foot, while the rock tied to your neck will kill you every time.
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RichM February 8th, 2010 11:53 am
"...look at outcomes. Look at the 5 corporatist, activist Supreme Court Justices that Republican Presidents have saddled us with for the next few DECADES..."

- This is a brainless remark. You don't like the 5 rightwing Justices? Then try to explain why the Democrats didn't make a serious fight against any of them, when they were nominated. Try to explain why the Democrats didn't even stand up to oppose a blatantly stolen presidential election. Or just watch their comically feeble fake opposition to the recent Supreme Court travesty.

That's where the rubber meets the road. Every Republican crime is supported by Democratic accomplices & collaborators.
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Greg R February 8th, 2010 12:11 pm
Vern, Ted, Rich-- I suspect some of you see 'scheme and device' in the Democrat's "collaboration" with Republicans. While undoubtedly some truth of this is more than apparent, I believe a great deal of the Democrats lack of enthusiasm for mounting a strong defense against Republicans is simple fear of corporate and rich interest money destroying their individual futures whether in politics or business. As I see it, more Republicans elected will lead to an ever increasing corporate dominance in our nation. It's possible that we are already so far gone down this path that a return is most unlikely, but I prefer a false hope to no hope (Ha! Take that yea of little faith!).
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Ephraim February 8th, 2010 2:22 pm
This argument never ends. The Democrats have been "disappointing" or they "lack enthusiasm" to defend against Republican obstructionism, but their fears are understandable, they'll be crushed by big money if they show any resistance to the Borg, and things will be far worse if Republicans gain majorities and the White House so we must keep electing Democrats or we lose all hope and blah blah. If you can't see the self-defeating merry-go-round you advise we all stay on forever, then please don't pretend to any "progressive" inclinations. Be happy with Democrats too fearful to ever cross their "opponents" who command bigger war chests, and content with Republican policies carried out by Democrats. By your logic, refusing any longer to vote for Democrats means voting for Republicans, because you've accepted the whole Dem apologist line of crap that third parties, or voting only for independents (on the left) are just ways to elect Republicans. Some of us have long since refused to submit to that blackmail.
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Ted Markow February 8th, 2010 1:41 pm
Greg,

While I feel your pain, and understand the notion of realpolitik, I think it's crucial that we understand the notion of cause and effect. We can discuss the causes 'til the cows come home, but the effect is that the people in this country are being ill served, if we are being served at all.

I voted for Obama and other Democrats in 2008 full of hope that after eight years of abusive rule by Bush and his crew, the Dems would finally get it. Of course, that was a fool's dream as they have little incentive to "get it" because the only way they can exist in political terms is to take money from the exact same corporations as the Republicans.

If you have watched Bill Moyers over the last year, you will note that his tone has changed (as has mine) from one of hope to one of realization of just how much the game is rigged. If you have missed Moyers, I highly recommend that you watch some of his shows: http://www.pbs.org/moyers.

I have not given up hope, yet I realize that false hope does not serve us well. Being false is the same thing as being not true. In short, false hope is a state of denial, which is a very dangerous thing...for us all.
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Ted Markow February 8th, 2010 11:39 am
I understand your point, Greg, and to some degree, have held them. I voted for Obama and other Democrats purely as a defensive measure.

Yet, I find that tactic harder to defend. In a functioning system, with a functioning citizenry, the Democrats would be a good stopgap for some good work to be done. They would allow the citizens some breathing room to work, without the constant assaults that the Republicans foist upon us.

Sadly, we are no longer living in a functioning system - at least, not functioning for the people. And, we no longer have a citizenry that seems capable of doing the work necessary to turn things around. Too many distractions and divisions amongst us to mount a cohesive and coherent offensive for democracy and justice.

Yes, the Supreme Court is a factor. However, it has become crystal clear now that the Democratic Party has no interest, nor intent, in moving this nation in the direction of empowering the people. Look at their votes, their alliances, and especially their benefactors, and it is clear whose bed they lie in.

While I will not vote for a Republican, and probably won't vote for an independent, I will be hard pressed to vote for a Democrat. Where does that leave me? Well, do the math. As the late, great, George Carlin opined in his final years: "They don't give a fuck about us." And he wasn't just talking about Republicans. Carlin's solution was to not vote. Instead, he let his words, which he used masterfully, do his voting. As with Carlin, I am seeing that what I do outside of the political arena has more power than my one misplaced, disgraced, erased, vote.
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Vern February 8th, 2010 10:43 am
Don' be a blooming idiot.
Krugman makes the case that the Republicans--in the minority--are putting the brakes on the most minor issues, yet it was THE DEMOCRATS who folded, cynically postured, deflected responsibity and calculated to appoint the Bush appointments.
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Wildwood February 8th, 2010 9:53 am
How strange that criminals act as criminals. But there's a reflection of a reality here. The United States from its inception has been a lying, looting, self serving nation and so it goes. This country does not have cancer, it is cancer. We announce it with pride. Sick!
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generalcommentator February 8th, 2010 9:45 am
The things Mr Krugman says are true...but not the whole truth.

The part of the government that tries to do the peoples' business doesn't work. But the part that guarantees the continued flow of treasure into the pockets of the MIC, Wall Street, mercenaries, etc is working just fine, thank you.
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RichM February 8th, 2010 11:01 am
"...The things Mr Krugman says are true...but not the whole truth..."

- That's a very accurate criticism of Krugman. Another way in which he isn't telling the whole truth here is his consistent underlying argument that the US is becoming ungovernable because of "Republican obstructionists."

Yes, they're obstructionists. But the fact that the Dems are incapable of doing serious battle with these GOP obstructionists -- something Krugman himself complains about, when he ridicules Gibbs' decrying Shelby's "silliness" -- this is a far deeper cause of America's malady, than GOP obstructionists.

No matter how villainous the Republicans are, one must recognize that the Democrats are institutionally & organically incapable of opposing them (or of exposing them for what they are). It's the very definition of Democrats, that even when they hold the White House & large majorities in both houses of Congress, they still allow Republicans to control the agenda. The Democrats are an institution that never gets off its knees. Their collective voice never rises above the level of pathetic bleating & whimpering.
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bgcd February 8th, 2010 12:15 pm
"Democrats are institutionally & organically incapable of opposing them"

The Democrats serve the same paymasters as the Republicans, they just use different marketing to reach a different market segment.
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mtdon February 8th, 2010 1:53 pm
which makes us beleive we have a "choice" when the true choice is whether our suicide will be by hanging , injesting pills or a gun in the mouth.....

the result is still the same!
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ubrew12 February 8th, 2010 1:46 pm
well said. Really, BOTH parties need to be exposed.
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WTF February 8th, 2010 2:21 pm
Both parties were exposed years ago.

Then came 9/11, the coup d'etat, televised live, in the open. The only ones cheering were the MIC owners and shareholders.
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Justaman February 8th, 2010 9:36 am
Was wondering where, as I neared the end of his piece, was the argument to justify the headline.

Many here at CD accept it as a fact, but for the majority of Americans that don't yet realize that we are about to hold the biggest yard sale in history, reality is going to be a severe jolt.

Of course they won't blame the ones really responsible. It will be the liberals, the blacks, the gays, the environmentalists, the labor unions, the atheists and the agnostics, the scientific community.

Sound familiar? Zig Heil!
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Saturnalia February 8th, 2010 1:13 pm
It might be that he's arguing that after the collapse and deluge, the usa will rise again like Poland did. Of course, comparing the histories of nations in Europe and the nations of the Americas is a very dodgy thing to attempt. Europe is a much smaller continent, and has nation states that have very long histories. Europe has had many wars that were waged over the nations that fell, died and were sometimes resurrected.

He's quite wrong, if he is suggesting it, to believe that if the usa were chopped up like Poland was that it could be resurrected. No, like the Roman and Mongolian empires, once the usa breaks apart fighting over who owes what for the wars of empire fought by the usa it will not be rebuilt. Some of the better ideas the yanks had might survive, but the nation itself is not likely to survive the idiocy that the politicians have perpetrated over the last forty years or so...
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nick February 8th, 2010 9:18 am
"But most of us imagined that our downfall, when it came, would be something grand and tragic."

Why would anyone imagine that? Most things--both biological and institutional--wither and die out slowly. There is nothing strange at all about the US disappearing into "silliness". Its corruption is eating away at it--it's a very natural process.
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FrankS February 8th, 2010 9:06 am
Yes, the Senate is working very hard at it!!! And in the process it is destroying the last dregs of respect that Americans had for this lying, looting, self-serving body!!!!
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drosera February 8th, 2010 9:03 am
"Instead of fraying under the strain of imperial overstretch, we’re paralyzed by procedure. Instead of re-enacting the decline and fall of Rome, we’re re-enacting the dissolution of 18th-century Poland."

Seems like with wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and operatives in Iran, Colombia, and God knows where else, imperial overstretch is fraying the Empire, too.
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bonepeople February 8th, 2010 6:28 pm
Yes, and Rome seems to have fallen from both. Their govt in the 4th and 5th centuries was eerily similar to America's -- as was their economy and foreign policy.
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kivals February 8th, 2010 9:47 am
That's what I was thinking. Why can't we have it all? Why can't we fail because of both imperial overstretch and dysfunctional government? I think we, or really the plutocrats running this place, are doing a heckuva job at both.
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text size: E-mail Print ShareClose Twitter StumbleUpon Facebook Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo TechnoratiDiscuss Published on Monday, February 8, 2010 by TruthDig.com
The Terror-Industrial Complex
by Chris Hedges

The conviction of the Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui in New York last week of trying to kill American military officers and FBI agents illustrates that the greatest danger to our security does not come from al-Qaida but the thousands of shadowy mercenaries, kidnappers, killers and torturers our government employs around the globe.

The bizarre story surrounding Siddiqui, 37, who received an undergraduate degree from MIT and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University, often defies belief. Siddiqui, who could spend 50 years in prison on seven charges when she is sentenced in May, was by her own account abducted in 2003 from her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, with her three children—two of whom remain missing—and spirited to a secret U.S. prison where she was allegedly tortured and mistreated for five years. The American government has no comment, either about the alleged clandestine detention or the missing children.

Siddiqui was discovered in 2008 disoriented and apparently aggressive and hostile, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with her oldest son. She allegedly was carrying plans to make explosives, lists of New York landmarks and notes referring to “mass-casualty attacks.” But despite these claims the government prosecutors chose not to charge her with terrorism or links to al-Qaida—the reason for her original appearance on the FBI’s most-wanted list six years ago. Her supporters suggest that the papers she allegedly had in her possession when she was found in Afghanistan, rather than detail coherent plans for terrorist attacks, expose her severe mental deterioration, perhaps the result of years of imprisonment and abuse. This argument was bolstered by some of the pages of the documents shown briefly to the court, including a crude sketch of a gun that was described as a “match gun” that operates by lighting a match.

“Justice was not served,” Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network and the spokesperson for Aafia Siddiqui’s family, told me. “The U.S. government made a decision to label this woman a terrorist, but instead of putting her on trial for the alleged terrorist activity she was put on trial for something else. They tried to convict her of that something else, not with evidence, but because she was a terrorist. She was selectively prosecuted for something that would allow them to only tell their side of the story.”

The government built its entire case instead around disputed events in the 300-square-foot room of the Ghazni police station. It insisted that on July 18, 2008, the diminutive Siddiqui, who had been arrested by local Afghan police the day before, seized an M4 assault rifle that was left unattended and fired at American military and FBI agents. None of the Americans were injured. Siddiqui, however, was gravely wounded, shot twice in the stomach.

No one, other than Siddiqui, has attempted to explain where she was for five years after she vanished in 2003. No one seems to be able to explain why a disoriented Pakistani woman and her son, an American citizen, neither of whom spoke Dari, were discovered by local residents wandering in a public square in Ghazni, where an eyewitness told Harpers Magazine the distraught Siddiqui “was attacking everyone who got close to her.” Had Siddiqui, after years of imprisonment and torture, perhaps been at the U.S. detention center in Bagram and then dumped with one of her three children in Ghazi? And where are the other two children, one of whom also is an American citizen?

Her arrest in Ghazi saw, according to the official complaint, a U.S. Army captain and a warrant officer, two FBI agents and two military interpreters arrive to question Siddiqui at the police headquarters. The Americans and their interpreters were shown to a meeting room that was partitioned by a yellow curtain. “None of the United States personnel were aware,” the complaint states, “that Siddiqui was being held, unsecured, behind the curtain.” The group sat down to talk and “the Warrant Officer placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor to his right next to the curtain, near his right foot.” Siddiqui allegedly reached from behind the curtain and pulled the three-foot rifle to her side. She unlatched the safety. She pulled the curtain “slightly back” and pointed the gun directly at the head of the captain. One of the interpreters saw her. He lunged for the gun. Siddiqui shouted, “Get the fuck out of here!” and fired twice. She hit no one. As the interpreter wrestled her to the ground, the warrant officer drew his sidearm and fired “approximately two rounds” into Siddiqui’s abdomen. She collapsed, still struggling, and then fell unconscious.

But in an article written by Petra Bartosiewicz in the November 2009 Harper’s Magazine, authorities in Afghanistan described a series of events at odds with the official version. The governor of Ghazni province, Usman Usmani, told a local reporter who was hired by Bartosiewicz that the U.S. team had “demanded to take over custody” of Siddiqui. The governor refused. He could not release Siddiqui, he explained, until officials from the counterterrorism department in Kabul arrived to investigate. He proposed a compromise: The U.S. team could interview Siddiqui, but she would remain at the station. In a Reuters interview, however, a “senior Ghazni police officer” suggested that the compromise did not hold. The U.S. team arrived at the police station, he said, and demanded custody of Siddiqui. The Afghan officers refused, and the U.S. team proceeded to disarm them. Then, for reasons unexplained, Siddiqui herself somehow entered the scene. The U.S. team, “thinking that she had explosives and would attack them as a suicide bomber, shot her and took her.”

Siddiqui told a delegation of Pakistani senators who went to Texas to visit her in prison a few months after her arrest that she never touched anyone’s gun, nor did she shout at anyone or make any threats. She simply stood up to see who was on the other side of the curtain and startled the soldiers. One of them shouted, “She is loose,” and then someone shot her. When she regained consciousness she heard someone else say, “We could lose our jobs.”

Siddiqui’s defense team pointed out that there was an absence of bullets, casings or residue from the M4, all of which suggested it had not been fired. They played a video to show that two holes in a wall supposedly caused by the M4 had been there before July 18. They also highlighted inconsistencies in the testimony from the nine government witnesses, who at times gave conflicting accounts of how many people were in the room, where they were sitting or standing and how many shots were fired.

Siddiqui, who took the stand during the trial against the advice of her defense team, called the report that she had fired the unattended M4 assault rifle at the Americans “the biggest lie.” She said she had been trying to flee the police station because she feared being tortured. Siddiqui, whose mental stability often appeared to be in question during the trial, was ejected several times from the Manhattan courtroom for erratic behavior and outbursts.

“It is difficult to get a fair trial in this country if the government wants to accuse you of terrorism,” said Foster. “It is difficult to get a fair trial on any types of charges. The government is allowed to tell the jury you are a terrorist before you have to put on any evidence. The fear factor that has emerged since 9/11 has permeated into the U.S. court system in a profoundly disturbing way. It embraces the idea that we can compromise core principles, for example the presumption of innocence, based on perceived threats that may or may not come to light. We, as a society, have chosen to cave on fear.”

I spent more than a year covering al-Qaida for The New York Times in Europe and the Middle East. The threat posed by Islamic extremists, while real, is also wildly overblown, used to foster a climate of fear and political passivity, as well as pump billions of dollars into the hands of the military, private contractors, intelligence agencies and repressive client governments including that of Pakistan. The leader of one FBI counterterrorism squad told The New York Times that of the 5,500 terrorism-related leads its 21 agents had pursued over the past five years, just 5 percent were credible and not one had foiled an actual terrorist plot. These statistics strike me as emblematic of the entire war on terror.

Terrorism, however, is a very good business. The number of extremists who are planning to carry out terrorist attacks is minuscule, but there are vast departments and legions of ambitious intelligence and military officers who desperately need to strike a tangible blow against terrorism, real or imagined, to promote their careers as well as justify obscene expenditures and a flagrant abuse of power. All this will not make us safer. It will not protect us from terrorist strikes. The more we dispatch brutal forms of power to the Islamic world the more enraged Muslims and terrorists we propel into the ranks of those who oppose us. The same perverted logic saw the Argentine military, when I lived in Buenos Aires, “disappear” 30,000 of the nation’s citizens, the vast majority of whom were innocent. Such logic also fed the drive to root out terrorists in El Salvador, where, when I arrived in 1983, the death squads were killing between 800 and 1,000 people a month. Once you build secret archipelagos of prisons, once you commit huge sums of money and invest your political capital in a ruthless war against subversion, once you empower a network of clandestine killers, operatives and torturers, you fuel the very insecurity and violence you seek to contain.

I do not know whether Siddiqui is innocent or guilty. But I do know that permitting jailers, spies, kidnappers and assassins to operate outside of the rule of law contaminates us with our own bile. Siddiqui is one victim. There are thousands more we do not see. These abuses, justified by the war on terror, have created a system of internal and external state terrorism that is far more dangerous to our security and democracy than the threat posed by Islamic radicals.

Copyright © 2010 Truthdig, L.L.C.
Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.


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OleManRiver February 9th, 2010 6:58 pm
Nanoo---

That's what happens when a female Muslim seeks to become highly educated instead of an "ignorant raghead."

Neuroscientist? What does she know they aren't telling us?

-30-
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Nanoo February 9th, 2010 7:31 am
Nanoo

This poor woman was convicted, amazingly without physical evidence. Perhaps the same powers who brought Aafia to this unjustified hell, applied some therapy to the jury as well.
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OleManRiver February 9th, 2010 5:33 am
Third skipnote, to Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:03 pm:

It's ProZac! Not Prosac.

But you are correct in seeking a clear language.

One of the things I like about Common Dreams is that we are permitted to be fallible even as we may be great.

There is a deep community here. Let us not blow it.

Why does the name Dalton Trumbo keep haunting my consciousness? I am not one for names.

-30-
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Old Peculiar February 9th, 2010 6:31 pm
He was a gifted, black-listed Hollywood writer during the dark days of HUAC.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0874308/bio
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OleManRiver February 9th, 2010 5:07 am
Another skip-note, this time to koalaburger (great handle by the way and I had noticed you earlier) who wrote above:

"A jury trial means being judged by people too dumb to get out of jury duty."

This is an old canard yet remains valid.

I quit my job and "retired" last year and actually I would be thrilled to be called for a jury trial in my small rural county. I am sure it would be educational.

I've lived all over this country and I've always been a registered voter and I've never been called for jury duty. The system seems rigged. I recall one county where the grand jury had the same guy in charge of it for decades. I knew him. He wasn't a bad guy and preferred working behind the scenes. He tended to egalitarianism but I remain certain that there are many others, similarly situated, who do not.

-30-
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OleManRiver February 9th, 2010 4:45 am
A skip-note to dubet of dubet February 8th, 2010 10:27 am---

Exactly so. Sometimes one needs to create the threat one is protecting the herd from. Bow wow. Arf arf.

The profits are wonderful. The hidden mansions are great.

-30-
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Arghangel February 9th, 2010 4:20 am
Those BLACKWATER LOWLIFES can get away 'Scot Free' for the Nisour Square Massacre but this HORRIBLY BRUTALIZED/VICTIMIZED Muslim woman will end up like Mumia Abu Jamal, rotting away for life on TRUMPED UP CHARGES designed to save face for THE NEANDERTHAL CONSTABULARY!!

SMASH THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE TERROR-INDUSTRIAL WELFARE COMPLEX!!
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mujeriego February 9th, 2010 2:44 am
He is my theory. The USA tortured, gang raped and murdered her missing children in front of her, and she snapped. Maybe John Yoo and Donald Rumsfield did their famous testicular tap dance on their little sacks until they died.

and we now know that it is OK for the US Government to murder its own citizens as long as they have crossed the border and are standing on "ferin soil"

I would not put any kind of sick depravity beyond the modern, evil USA Government. They make the "terrorists" look moral and moderate by comparison.
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Peterpeacenik February 9th, 2010 12:53 am
Bush = Obomber = #1 Terrorist in the whole World!
'Now supported by Jury Trial.' What a SuperPile, 1+1 =1
Only in Amerika
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nobodyknown February 8th, 2010 9:27 pm
Somewhere between the extremes, lies the truth.... I would hope that each and every American would try to recall what it was like as a teenager, being accused of an act that one did not commit. Different people certainly reacted differently, but at least one time I'm sure I reacted "well, IF I'm going to be accused of it, I may as well do it". We may very well be creating a national "self-fulfilled prophecy".
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EricGregory February 8th, 2010 10:40 pm
And honestly I think that very well may be the hidden goal of our entire strategy. Any idiot should be able to see that, after being held unjustly and tortured for years as many of these people are, the only logical thing to do is to blow yourself up and take as many of these torturous fucks as you can. Duh. People in the US think torture and genocide are just good fun, but in reality they provoke an all consuming persistant hatred for Americans. Can you blame them? Many Americans are so twisted around that they do, one more case of blaming the victim.

The logic of this is undeniable. Yeah, they hate us for our freedoms: freedom to imprison them, freedom to torture them, and freedom to kill them. Unfortunately, it is that hate that powers the engine, that stokes the fire and fuels the fear. Our foreign policy is about the promotion of future business, the business is war, and business is good.
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genie February 8th, 2010 8:33 pm
Preemptive arrests of Muslim men have been going on in America for years. If the government thinks that due to his political views a Muslim man, may some time in the future, become a terrorist, they charge him with bogus crimes based on circumstantial evidence. They smear him as a terrorist in the media, disallow him to defend himself against the smear of terrorism, and get him convicted by confusing and inflaming the jury. Most Americans would be afraid to go against their government and not convict these innocent Muslim men.

Humans beings have followed authority, good or evil, for centuries as if authority is divinely ordained.This is becoming a greater danger due to global overpopulation and higher technological advances juxtaposed with less conscientious concern for the common good and for future generations. " If we do nothing but complain about society's ills forgetting that we are society, from which corrupt and ignorant leaders obtain and retain their power, then society will destroy us and our children, by the power of our own Apathy." (Thomas Merton)
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Z1 February 9th, 2010 6:08 am
genie,
Sounds like the very point the Founding Fathers were trying to make in the Declaration of Independence
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Cayetana February 8th, 2010 8:20 pm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aafia_Siddiqui

At least you can see her picture.
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Bottle February 8th, 2010 8:07 pm
The credibility of author Chris Hedges, already good, is bolstered by his first-hand observations in Argentina and El Salvador. We really need, in this country, to make an effort not to be the most uneducable persons in this world, and to stop thinking that the truths and history of other places don't apply to us.

As far as the secrecy and mystery concerning this case, the government should come clean. In fact, it always should come clean AS A MATTER OF SENSIBLE POLICY. Don't want people speculating? COME CLEAN THEN-- SIMPLE AS THAT!
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ma77hew77 February 8th, 2010 8:02 pm
Thank you Chris Hedges for yet another amazing article!

Your work has always demanded attention,introspection and action.

What more could a seminary grad want as a reaction to their work.

I look forward to reading Empire of Illusions.

God Bless you sir!
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Shawn Berry. February 8th, 2010 7:22 pm
Why do some people have to blame America for everything? Pakistan is a military dictatorship where religion is used to control and abuse. The US needs to get the hell out of there so that Pakistanis can fight for their own democracy and the USA can stop being everyone's scapegoat.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 10:09 pm
Shawn Berry -- the fact that Pakistan or other countries are what they are - whether before or after foreign interferences - is a DISTINCT point from blaming america for what SHE DOES ..which includes meddling that excacerbates what are already imperfect situations elsewhere.

Pakistan was not even a country - just a region in Near Asia - until it was carved out from the result of divisions between the muslims and hindus after gandhi succeeded to first unite them all -- of INDO origin - against england.

whatever the results foreign meddling by england excacerbated what were civil wars or differences, leading to what you rail against :"Pakistan is a military dictatrship"

in which america embroiled itself to replace England as the new "foreign master".

if the tribes of an island fought amongst themselves ..they can be blamed solely if no foreign influence was involved.

people can say "'well they are fighting, blame that king, or that queen, or that bad person...but not the USA - it was never involved".

but SINCE the USA does involve itself globally - which results in strife and other problems LIKELY far greater than if it did NOT involve itself , which everyone knows is "for national interest" and has NOTHING to do with "democracy" or humaneness...but just AMERICAN POWER ...

then it is logical to say:

"america is to be blamed"....because its involvement is commensurate to its power which is commensurate to that power's involvement's CONSEQUENCES which also are as great and as dire according to the potency of that "great power's" involvement.

it is like the saying:

"when america sneezes the world gets a cold".

why is america "blamed for everything?"

it is because america has used its power IRRESPONSIBLY in its global involvement. rather than help nations to be prosperous in their own right an be fair..it has used its power and wealth to "permanently subjugate them to our will"....JOHN PERKINS, former CIA "economic hitman".

you want examples?

IRAN TODAY - consequence of the USA meddling in the affairs of nation that was the most democratic and most advanced in the middle east - and literally destroyed centuries of very careful, critical evolution to become a better place of great culture , politics, thought, philosophy, poetry, art, trade, language....literally the middle east's

CENTER of world trade - even formerly calling Tehran "THE PARIS of the Middle East".

now - see how Iran has become a "centerpiece" of "global concern" blared around by america.

WHO BROUGHT IT TO THAT? the USA.

we can go down a very very long list . and a year will go by with "complaints" and discussions that are not repetitive of the list of what america has done - and we will only have scratched the surface on the extent of what america REALLY has caused in so much strife, suffering, unnecessary quarrels and problems globally.

and that -- in ONLY 200 hundred years since it became capable of maritime force.

and remember -- even if you are talking about the "TROOPS over there" around the globe -- the "ARMED FORCES" of the USA are only the MILITARY expression of the more deeply insidious involvement of the USA globaly -- namely , its corporatist CAPITALIST imperial stretch.

even where there are NO troops or "military invasions" -- there are troop or RELATED entities of american presence to "spread the gospel" of capitalism...which has proven to be DESTRUCTIVE.

remember that the OPEN occupations of massed troops by america elsewere are only in places that are so threatening to american hegemony that it HAS to send them - openly ....

but THAT also is just the advanced phased of what John Perkins, Former CIA "economic hitman" described as the USA's imperial project - where the EARLIER phases are in effect everywhere - until they have a "need" for military action to impose that imperial project.
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aremagen February 8th, 2010 8:24 pm
Yes, Pakistan is a military dictatorship and the US knew and condoned the dictatorship before we made ourselves at home there. Where are you getting the "fight for their own democracy" statement from. They have democracy when the US, along with the Pakistani military, isn't trying to manipulate it.

We were not invited there. We have forced ourselves on them for what we perceive as geopolitical reasons.

We are not a benign scapegoat handing out candy to children. We are not a helping hand to the common citizens. We are killing their men, women and children because they won't do what we say. Therefore they are the enemy. That has been US policy world-wide since 1945. Have you been asleep for 65 years?

Keep reading Common Dreams, Counterpunch.com, Zmag.org, Informed Comment and they will bring you up to speed on the issues.
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Shawn Berry. February 8th, 2010 8:57 pm
I said for the US to get out of Pakistan so that they can fight it on their own. They need us and we don't need to throw them money or anything. Let them pick their own leaders and religion.
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teddy February 9th, 2010 10:48 am
Shawn Berry -- Aramagen and others and yourself are really ONE on our thoughts and hopes that America would change - and STOP being the bully and empire that it is.

but you are also forgetting that when you say america should just leave and let those people choose their way of life, just as no one in the world has ever dictated to america what to do with itself (unless you think about ISRAEL that is the tail that wags the dog) - that statement of yours contradicts FACTS.

"those people" elsewhere ALWAYS have had their ways of life- in fact, thousands of years of their own civilizations that point to the SAME hopes and needs and wants of any human society:

to have families, to honor their elders, to carry on what they learned and improved on, to have better futures, to eat properly, to work with honor, to share in their communities...just like ordinary americans ...

BUT america has gone "over there" to DISRUPT them - a mere 250 year old "nation" that thinks it has found the magic potion for civilization - and has demonstrated, right from the start , a COMPLETE absence of conscience and respect for other cultures -- starting with destroying the NATIVE INDIANS - to grab the land and impose its supposedly more "civilized" european view of the world....which - whether from spain or france or england or germany or italy , or now USA -

have NO rivals for brutality, callousness, insiduousness and hypocrisy COMING from such a SMALL region of the world -- the White Region of European "thought" of conquest and theft of lands and resources "over there" (as you would put it).

you say : "let those people choose" their leaders, their politics, their society...

well-- that IS what those people have been doing for thousands of years!

that IS what the Iranians were doing in the 1950's when they wanted to kick out the foreigners, be it russians or arabs or english or french or americans and their corporations trying to grab Iran's oil and gas and control her internal affairs..they CHOSE democracy - but the USA disliked IT because it was a SOCIALIST democracy that nationalised oil and gas and was going to put a stop to US and English Petroleum industries from continuing to divy up IRAN's NATIONAL TREASURES and leaving nothing for the iranians....

exactly as the usa has done globally in all forms.

move away from iran -- and turn to HAITI, to the Philippines, to Vietnam, to China, to dozens and dozens of countries...people WERE choosing their way of life ....

what DID the USA DO? interrupt and impose "our will and the will of our chamber of commerce to render them permanently subjugated" (John Perkins, former CIA "economic hitman") ...and "if that doesn't work...that's when we send in our Army...that's what you see in iraq"...

so -- why should you quarrel about the whys and wherewithals of the argument when you know as much as any that it is the PRESENCE of the USA in "those lands" that has , at best exaggerated their problems which they CAN figure out what to do as they always have, imperfect as it is, but at worst, the USA only WORSENS ...with nary an interest in the welfare of "those people" -- beginning with the most obvious sign of all:

UTTER COMPLETE lack of respect and even interest in the uniqueness of other cultures..and just sweeping them away as if they are dust so it can "re-organize" them according to its views which TURN OUT to be SO DISASTROUS and PRIMITIVE and BARBARIC and UNcivilized - after all!

and you know what that is in simple , old terms?

we all know it , it is called PILLAGE and RAPE and THEFT.
so -- you can not possibly - any american really, can not possibly be in the RIGHT to quibble about "why is everyone blaming america?"

the answer is :

Because AMERICA deserves the blame, it EARNED it.

we starte from the NAtive Indians who never did anything bad TO EUROPE. but tried to stand their ground for THEIR way of life and THEIR native land...

and here we are:

as Even Senator Ron Paul among others with similar statements have said :

"why are they against us? why are they HERE to attack us? why do they HATE US? it is because we ARE THERE".
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gdgoodman February 9th, 2010 8:32 pm
If you read the Paki papers a little, you get a sense that the military are finally losing part of their iron control, at least going by the bluntness of the editorials. The military originally grabbed power in a coup supposedly SPONSORED (again dammit) by the United States. So we are DIRECTLY responsible for the fragileness of the democracy that is taking hold there. We have also funneled hundreds of millions to the military even when they were in total control.

So it is a large part our mess. But drone strikes are NOT the way to go; neither are American troops (we have special ops in Pakistan). We need to, as the Kerry-Lugar bill at least partially does, funnel aid to the people, not just the military, of Pakistan. And stay the hell out of their politics.

Gary

“Suddenly it looks like the policy is not tough diplomacy, but the path to war.”
-- Jon Alterman
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aremagen February 8th, 2010 9:27 pm
Even the US can't "pick" their religion although we would do anything for that ability.

They do pick their own leaders as long as they pass through the US "filter".

Any fighting that Pakistan/US is doing in Pakistan is at the demand of the US. So actually they don't need us. We need their help and that's why we "throw them money". If we were not in their country for reasons that benefit mostly the US oil companies there would be no fighting. Pakistan liked things exactly the way they were before 9/11.
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 7:35 pm
Yep
Agreed
Let em duke it out.....
We got enough troubles right here in the U S and A to deal with.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 7:05 pm
(Ah ha. So this is where everybody was lurking.)

This case is simply horrendous -- I don't have the skill of wordcraft to express any more eloquently than this travesty of "justice" really sucks the big one. It's inexcusable that such an obviously trumped up case should even go to trial in the first place. And then they found 12 abject cowards to convince this poor, bewildered woman?

I wish, like SR points out maybe a third of Earth's population does, I could believe in reincarnation but I have trouble with all those "extra" souls needed to fill bodies being produced at nearly 20 per thousand every year. Then karma would make at least some sense. But I cannot accept it, I feel this is our ONE chance to get it right, and believing otherwise is the height of wishful thinking.

Still, it WOULD be nice if the bad karma potentially generated by this case COULD translate into increased toil and trouble in a future life for the lying agents, the judge, and yes even the jury. But I don't see the universe working that fairly.

Free will means we are on our own -- our fate in our grubby little hands -- and human stupidity means the odds are stacked against us.

Gary

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
-- Plato
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txbodhi February 8th, 2010 10:28 pm
Eastern religions teach that animals can be reborn as humans, beings from other worlds in the physical Universe can be reborn as humans and beings from higher levels of existence can be reborn as humans. There is no shortage of beings for available human lives. Though a difficult school of life our world holds unique spiritual potential for enlightenment. There are those who fail out of this school of life of course. Those who torture and unjustly imprison people will have that done to them in future lives.
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teddy February 9th, 2010 11:05 am
there is that commonality in eastern thought. you are right. I am from the philippines and although raised in a "western" religion of catholicism.. i can understand and am aware of what else was there in "eastern" thought -- which points to the idea of honoring one's ancestors , or "spirits" , or the inanimate world. at least that's a general sense underlying eastern thought.

it is probably expressed differently through the different religious tenets such as Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism...shamanism..etc.

but perhaps buddhists express it most elegantly:

the power of karma...or the idea of constant "rebirth"...

but with the idea that one is reborn - for as long as is needed, UNTIL one "learns" to do the "right" thing - which is to have compassion for all living things and creation and to realize that one is only a small part of the whole.

until one arrives at that -- to emerge from the "circle of suffering" which is the 'rebirth' cycle - then one will not achieve "nirvana" or enlightenment...which supposedly is the removal of all "desire" -- taught as the root of all suffering.

contrasted to that philosophy -- western thought INDEED looks VERY , VERY primitive. of course FEW easterners actually are able to achieve what that "might be"...as few humans probably can since - apparently - its discipline and demands are so beyond the capacities of most of us.

but -- it doesn't negate the fact that IT IS part of eastern thought ...which is completely absent from western thought which itself is completely wrapped around "possessing"...

even "salvation" in the western christian thinking is a form of "possessing" -- possessing "heaven, salvation, one-ness with god" as a form of perfecting the earthbound ideas of "welfare" and "achievement".

such as in :

have a house on earth -- wait til you get to heaven...you'll have a palace.

buddhism simply sweeps away that very notion.

there was a buddhist monk that explained "life" or reality or our existence in the world this way:

that "the individual's life is like that of a molecule or part in the water of a great river...it is one with the great river....but has not yet become an individual...when the river falls over a cliff and becomes a waterfall..you see the droplets separate...and that is the individual...our life is that time of the waterfall....when the water has reached the bottom of the cliff -- it is one again..and the droplets return to the great river".

it is one of the most beatifual imageries of existence.
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Alcyon February 9th, 2010 11:45 pm
teddy, first of all, I salute you for keeping an open mind towards other religions despite having been "raised in a "western" religion of catholicism" :)

I sometimes wonder if this absence of the concept of karma is what has enabled an "extra" level of brutality that would be required during imperial conquests. If you notice, most kingdoms and empires in the east have been somewhat of limited size, and not constantly prone to expanding. China has been a big empire for a long time - but I'm somewhat ambivalent about what motivated this empire to grow. Perhpas it was partly out of necessity for security and stability, and having achieved a certain level of security, they stopped expanding further. India itself has never been under one empire, except for short periods of time - once during emperor Ashoka's time and later on under the Mughals, and even then, there were several large parts of India that were not part of these empires. The reason I mention this, is that it seems to me that the concept of karma seems to put a check on kings and emperors from ruthlessly expanding their empires. The absence of this concept, or the "guarantee" of salvation by accepting the One True God, or a combination, seems to permit an extra level of brutality that would seem part of most imperial ventures.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 1:44 pm
Sioux Rose

TEDDY: Great post, as was your explanation above, as to why the US militaristic footprint upon other lands is HARDLY amenable with the claim of bringing freedom and democracy to those societies invaded. Nice work. Your compassion is always in evidence, you're an older soul who understands much.

TXBODHI: Great post!
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Kent Shaw February 9th, 2010 1:14 am
"Though a difficult school of life our world holds unique spiritual potential for enlightenment."

Maybe we're in a kindergarten where the most important lesson is "don't be an asshole". Others would equate that to the golden rule.
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 8:02 pm
Jesus was maybe all about re incarnation as well.
Where was He from 18 to 30 anyway?
Why is it so hard to find information about his lost years?
Who was he studying with?
What secrets did the old men cut out of the books at the Council of Nicea in 325AD?
As a Christian I want to know!
What's being hidden from me?
Would it be too much to handle?
Would it collapse the almighty stock markets?
Would people stop going to work?
What's being hidden from the world while these puppetmasters keep us all fighting down here in the pit?
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old goat February 8th, 2010 11:19 pm
Elfin

A book you might enjoy is "The Jesus Sutras" by Marin Palmer
Xian province in China?
its interesting to think in terms of epochs

Buddah, Lao Tzu, Christ, Mohammed, and heaven knows how many others unnamed appeared within a realtively short period with millennial effect.

The same with thinking about how the rainforests were 'thought of' as being 'uninhabited' when in fact they have been the result of human activity for millennia.
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teddy February 9th, 2010 11:26 am
i have read over the years some arguments that those "lost years" where when jesus actually traveled EAST - - as some have said above, even as far away as persia, china...who really knows?

some have said that jesus actually just learned things from philosophies of the east that were already in practice and reconstituted them for his own preaching, claiming whatever he claimed as "divinity".

people can remember that it is around that time that Buddhism also was ascendant in india.

for that matter...it is part of Indian history of which they are proud, at least of their ancient history...that a great king or emperor long ago - around just before the time of Jesus ..and when buddhism had been "discovered"...had turned away from his being emperor -

that this Ashoka - one of their greatest warriors and emperors - had inherited the first unification of india from among its disparate tribes - from his father who was revered.

but that this ashoka grew to become a fierce warrior with such cruelty and bloodlust that he loved conquering the different provinces (states they are called today in modern india) -- to keep enlarging his empire.

but then in the middle of his most powerful years - after yet another bloodthirsty conquest (he was infamous for lining up conquered warriors and people on the fields and have their heads cut off and then placed on spikes) - he had an almost sudden turn of mind...he realized that all his conquests and acquisitions left him completely empty...
and he began to question things...and he heard about some "preacher" somewhere (this is purportedly the "gautama buddha") ....

and went on a journey to find out and listen ....then he started to gravitate towards that "teaching"......

until one day - he decided to travel around the country , be among the people, and ask them "how do you want to live? how do you want to be ruled"?

and invariably the answer was that people just wanted to live with just modest needs and without fear and to have decent lives.

so he began to make edicts and proclamations - using the "suggestions" of the people everywhere....and had written in stone pillars that still exist today everywhere in india ...what amounted to india's first "constitution" which declared the freedoms of people ..and he began to use the vast wealth of his empire and treasury to "correct" the sins he had committed against people..to improve their towns, their roads, their houses, their trades...etc...

one of the things he did was - as a result of his hearing the teachings of "the buddha" - to ensure that the spot where people claimed the buddha sat under a tree to preach - was to be preserved..and it is still that place today somewhere in india.

EVEN including what indians today say is probably the original "official source" of their well-known "respect" for all animate beings - what amounts to today's "ANIMAL RIGHTS"...

because he extended his concerns to such an extent that it was not only limited to PEOPLE but also to other living beings...but he backed it up by encouraging education and understanding for animals and the natural world.

but he was still not "fulfilled" despite all that - because the weight of his guilt at all his crimes against people in his conquests was so heavy -- that he eventually abdicated and left his throne - to follow the ascetic life and became a hermit in a cave where he died...still looking for "forgiveness" or "nirvana"
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 8:55 pm
Sioux Rose

ARCHER: Are you a Sagittarius? Glad someone else in this forum is hip to the Council of Nicaea. That's when all references to reincarnation were expunged from the Bible... except for one: when Jesus said, "I came before but you knew me not."

"Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation" by Ian Stevenson is the master work, and fits all the scientific methodologies so loved by academe. What it reveals is tough to dismiss. It's written for skeptics, and those who love details!
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 11:12 pm
Thanks for the book tip Rose, I'll check it out.
I'm a Cancer actually, brought up Catholic and reciting the Nicene Creed every Sunday.
After so long I stopped taking for granted the words that were rolling off my tongue without thinking and became interested in the Apocrypha.
Don't ask the priest or lay ministers about that stuff though. No no no.

Reading books like Fr. Malachi Martins "Hostage to the Devil" and hearing sooo many interviews with people who knew details from the past that they couldn't have possibly have known got me down a path that I hope doesn't refute my religion, but build upon it.
I believe modern science & physics is zeoring in on the truths and someday may be able to quantify them.
Surely, a million Hindu's and Buddhists can't all be wrong?
There has to be more to it than I've been told and it's within my intelligence and energies to search out the real deal.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 1:56 pm
Sioux Rose

ELFIN: I asked about the Sag-reference due to your use of the word "archer." Sagittarius is the archer who aims his arrow towards the target. In metaphor, it represents the power of intention, holding ones thoughts firm as they aim at the target, i.e. the outcome desired.

Jupiter, which rules Sagittarius, is exalted in Cancer. My family's estate lawyer had photos on her office wall where she was in rider's clothing mounting her horse. I asked if she was a Sag, and she, too, is a Cancer. Again, it's due to the Jupiter association. I dated a guy whose daughter (a Cancer) also was an expert rider, and know of another young Cancer female who was described to me as a "horse woman." I point this out because astrology works like a Kaleidescope. The many facets create a unique design, and the sun sign designation only reflects a portion of it.

I was not raised as a Catholic, so I had no exposure to the Nicene creed. I have read much on the life and teachings of Edgar Cayce, and one book, "Cayce's Story of Karma and Reincarnation," speaks about the Council of Nicaea and how at that time the church elites made the very political decision to expunge all references TO reincarnation from the available texts of the Bible. The Vatican has quite an occult library, but wants this info to remain taboo. Interesting. There is power that comes from a higher understanding, and it is precisely THAT power which the old elites, a marriage of church and state entities, STILL wish to keep in the dark. The occult is not a reflection of the dark side, but rather, what is retained in secrecy... and exists only for those with eyes capable of seeing. Of course, some will abuse this power, for like any resource, the thing itself (even money) may be neutral... until such time as the species of human motive is applied.

Nice chatting.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 7:15 pm
Sioux Rose

GARY: Many moons ago I attended a lecture on prosperity. Since I believe I've lived Native American previous lifetimes, I operate from an innate sense of conservation. I do not like waste--not in food, running water, excess use of fuels, or the way too many Americans TOSS things into the trash. When I posed a question to the speaker as to why people should seek out more than they need he answered that there were countless leaves on the trees, and one could not count the countless grains of sand at the beach. That ours was a planet of abundance.

I still live a very conservative (in terms of resources) lifestyle, and yet I do understand his premise for prosperity. I share this with you as numbers can be very telling and also very confusing. How can you be so sure that all souls who have lived across time are not all gathered here for this big, long-time predicted event? Can you be certain that intelligent life residing in other spheres has not lent some of its more patient, enlightened beings to this earth experience to help out at this transition juncture?

Numbers, or a perceived count, should never lock one into a presumption of finitude.

One of my favorite life memories (I shared this once before in the forum) was a night during my college days when perhaps 25 people were sitting in a circle in someone's dorm. There were lots of joints circulating and the subject we began to debate was that of INFINITY. The natural mystics understood that the concept itself precludes measurement, but the more science-oriented materialists were CERTAIN that with the RIGHT INSTRUMENTS infinity could be measured. Gary, your post makes me think you'd have been among that portion of the circle.
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Sanctuary February 9th, 2010 1:45 am
Siouxrose, of course infinity can be measured. It is infinitely long and infinitely wide and infinite in infinite dimensions. Sorry, I couldn't resist that.

As an aside I used to have horrible nightmares over the concept of infinity as a child because I couldn't understand it. As it came up frequently in math at school in my teens, I felt that I was incredibly dense and that everyone else except me could understand it and that I alone was missing something important in my brain structure. I live in a very visual world and I am also horizontal thinker, you see. There is enormous cognitive dissonance between those two. The concept of infinity was and is overwhelming.

Much later I realised that people just used it mechanically without giving it any thought -they just accepted that it behaved in a convenient predictable manner, much like a catalyst, when referenced in algorithms.

Back to the topic above. Does everything go in infinite pendulums and circles?
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:04 pm
Sioux Rose

SANCTUARY: In all humility, I must leave your closing sentence for the physicists. I do not have the answer. Infinity is intriguing, and meant to be. What would the experience of life in a (human) body be without questions to resolve, mysteries to explore? When I was a child I used to bike to other towns. One time my famiiy called the police because I was about 8 and gone all day. I rode my bike 3 towns away. I've always had a thing for adventure, and learning constitutes the great adventure. If we had all the answers, we would need to be embodied.

I love the metaphor of the circle. Everything comes full circle in so many ways, and the circle truly has neither beginning nor end. It is the shape of a nest, and a woman's breast, the orbital path of things as tiny as electrons to as great as entire solar systems. We are a society that's been bred to relate to linear constructs with the great heavenly circle consigned to a great taboo. I have made it my life mission to change that... for the sake of tomorrow's children. The circle has NO sides, and is an exquisite peace model... one that invites all tribes to the proverbial decision-making table. I elaborated on this theme at length in my children's book: Cassandra's Tale.
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Sanctuary February 9th, 2010 8:28 pm
Sioux Rose, thanks. Your comments are always valuable reading.

If everyone travelled at a relatively early age before the formative processes perhaps became set, minds would be widened and there would be far greater understanding and genuine humility.
The world would be a far better place.

Ha! There's no hope for me though -I'm Aries.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 8:51 pm
SR, I would LOVE to be wrong about all this. But I see _no_ real evidence of divine intervention, nor that of enlightened souls from somewhere beyond our own world. I have to go with what my poor eyes can see and my limited mind (and perhaps soul) can comprehend. It all still smacks of wishful thinking. A little too good to be true. Just as your figuring on past souls supplying new bodies ignores that the vast percentage of human lives across time exist today.

But I respect your right to your opinion and I am very happy it brings you comfort and insight. Wish I had something that could raise me above the mud. But I see the world rolling around in the gutter with but ourselves capable of getting out of that gutter. I cannot await help from beyond.

Peace and good karma to you.

Gary

"Contrary to popular misconception, karma has nothing to do with punishment and reward. It exists as part of our holographic universe's binary or dualistic operating system only to teach us responsibility for our creations -— and all things we experience are our creations."
-- Sol Luckman
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 9:00 pm
Sioux Rose

GARY: I don't find the quote by Luckman and the way karma operates as being mutually exclusive. And if you ever want to open your mind to how Divine intervention works (worked for me when I flipped a rental car with faulty steering as I was traveling at 79 MPH on I-95 heading to Miami and almost walked away from a complete crash, car flip, etc), a remarkable series written by a team of British researchers makes for compelling reading: The Wisdom and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, by Baird Spalding. I think Speilberg read it, or portions, before he filmed "Raiders of the Lost Arc." It's out of print, but sometimes can be found through Amazon or a book dealer.
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gdgoodman February 9th, 2010 8:48 pm
I HAVE studied Eastern philosophies -- especially Buddhism -- but would love to read that book but I'm on a limited income so unless the book is in the state library system (of KY?) I cannot afford to buy it. Ditto most of the interesting books mentioned by others here on CD.

BTW I was aware of the idea that animals can become human souls but that one really bothers me -- why would a perfectly good animal soul WANT to be human?

Reincarnation has some very interesting evidence for it -- I was aware of that -- but I suspect it is rather rare, not universal. But that is just my personal take on the matter.

As always SR, a very interesting discussion. Thank you.

Gary

"You must acknowledge and experience this part of the universe. Karma is intricate, too vast. You would, with your limited human senses, consider it too unfair. But you have tools to really, truly love. Loving the children is very important. But love everyone as you would love your children."
-- Kuan Yin
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Poet February 8th, 2010 5:03 pm
"Siddiqui, 37, who received an undergraduate degree from MIT and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University,..."

********

Was she doing contract work for the Pentagon or the CIA as a very smart person who had an advanced degree in neuroscinece?

"Siddiqui,...was by her own account abducted in 2003 from her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, with her three children—two of whom remain missing—and spirited to a secret U.S. prison?"

************

What did she suppossedly know that her captors wanted to learn so badly that they were willing to torture her for 5 years?

*************

"Siddiqui was discovered in 2008 disoriented and apparently aggressive and hostile, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with her oldest son. She allegedly was carrying plans to make explosives, lists of New York landmarks and notes referring to “mass-casualty attacks.” But despite these claims the government prosecutors chose not to charge her with terrorism or links to al-Qaida—the reason for her original appearance on the FBI’s most-wanted list six years ago."

**************

As I ponder these passages in Hedges article, it sounds more and more like elements of Lee Harvey Oswald (a highly intelligent suppossedly radicalized individual),

James Earl Ray (who was extradicted on some comparitivly minor charge from England in order to take the fall for the assassination of MLK Jr. for which he was never tried in court because he copped a guilty plea on very bad advice from his legal counsel)

and Sirhan Sirhan (the suppossed assassin of RFK who couldn't shoot straight, had a gun with the wrong caliber bullets than those that killed RFK, and could not remember anything about the whole affair--including the incoherant scribblings in notebooks in his own hand that were found in his living spece--despite repeated attempts through hypnosis to help him to do so)

*******************

Could Siddiqui be an MK Ultra subject whose mission designed by her handlers is to have her give her life in order to further their contrived "war on terror"? Of course I don't know for sure but the whole episode has the familiar and rotten stink of CIA mind control all over it.

Poet
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metal February 8th, 2010 7:23 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

She had too much expert scientific knowledge in such a specific brain-related field--very expensive and time consuming training to be so readily expendable--UNLESS they brought her in with her expertise in neuro-science thinking that with her Pakistani language and cultural skills she might be of special use in helping to develop some new ultra-torture method or torture technology for use on the Pakistani Taliban. Then when she saw what they wanted her to do she freaked out, they realized she was probably going to whistleblow to the government or someone in the press who might actually listen. Or maybe she tried to whistleblow internally and was targeted for retaliation by higher-ups. So they psy-oped her until she was extremely mentally unbalanced and terrified, did God knows what to her other children, and plopped her down in an alien city for the OTHER half of the torture/"military justice" equation to use her for her propaganda value.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 8:50 pm
Sioux Rose

METAL: It's like a built-in fail-safe, in that those who know too much can be taken, accused, tortured, and then once their minds are bent, the common perception is that their testimony is too whacked out to be taken seriously. What a defense! Kafka meets "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," with a touch of "Blue Sky" thrown in.
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metal February 8th, 2010 11:42 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

Hi Sioux Rose,

I'm not familiar with your reference re: "Blue Sky." Is that from a novel or a movie?
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Kay Johnson February 9th, 2010 12:03 pm
Blue Sky stars Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones, and was released in 1995. Ms. Lange won an Academy Award for her performance.

I agree with Sioux Rose's analogy, with the films/books she listed.

Last week, I watched the 1962 Orson Welles film, The Trial, starring Tony Perkins and Jeanne Moreau, the great French actress, based on the Franz Kafka novel, with the screenplay written by Mr. Welles. It is frightening, and more relevant today than when it was made.

In reference to one of your other posts: Your comments reminded me of the German citizen, Khaled al Masri, who was kidnapped by the C.I.A. (December 31, 2003)and tortured, then finally dumped somewhere in Albania in May, 2004. The C.I.A. already knew they had the WRONG man, but continued for a time to detain and torture him. When I went to hear Jane Mayer speak about her book, The Dark Side, she talked about interviewing Mr. al Masri, and that he broke down and cried as he told her his story.

Your perceptions about Siddiqui could be correct! Your outline of events certainly follows other very similar stories that we already know.

Today, Amy Goodman interviewed Eamon Javers whose new book was just published -- Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy -- with additional proof of government and corporations in cahoots with each other.

If you are interested, or if you haven't already watched it, you can go to:

www.democracynow.org
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:14 pm
Sioux

KAY: You're always so well-informed! Thanks for the post!
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 7:43 pm
Excellent hypothesis.
Nothing is too far out these days.
I often wonder how far down the rabbit hole these experts in cutting edge science go before they don't like what they're seeing.
I put her case in with the mysterious deaths of prominent microbiologists the past few years.
And I am mystified how Sibel Edmonds is still free.
Surely they could have trumped up charges on her to clam her up.
Nothing can be allowed to affect the agenda!!!
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metal February 9th, 2010 12:02 am
William S. Burroughs used to say that there was 'no job so dirty, so foul that you could not find a "#cking" scientist somewhere to do it.' Which is not to say they're all bad. I prefer a good scientist to an economist or a politician any day.

Sibel Edmonds was smart to go public early and big. If she hadn't she might already be dead or in prison on some spurious charge. Even though she didn't get a lot of MSM TV coverage she did get bursts of print media coverage in the "papers of record" and she raised enough of a stink to get heard by a few senior Democratic members of Congress and then wrote several articles and started her own organization and website. She's too out and well-known by the human antennae of the political establishment for the night crawlers to get her. They deal with people like her by ordering their mass media to ignore her. The general public never heard of her therefore she doesn't exist.
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Q February 9th, 2010 12:21 am
Chris Hedges was interviewed by Sibel recently. Check out her excellent podcast; Sibel Edmonds Boiling Frogs. Also Scott Horton has interviewed Sibel on antiwar radio. But so few are really listening.
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Kay Johnson February 10th, 2010 9:28 am
Q: Last night, I listened to the Sibel Edmonds/Peter Coillins interview Chris Hedges. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! Excellent!
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Kay Johnson February 9th, 2010 12:07 pm
Thanks for the reference to Sibel Edmonds podcast. I will definitely listen!

I think that Metal is correct when he states that she was smart to come out early. I also remember that she and Daniel Ellsberg appeared together a few times.
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 6:28 pm
You are closer to the truth than 99.9% of the population could ever consider.
Check out tonight's guest on Coast to Coast AM discussing electronic harassment:
http://www.satweapons.com/
Along with free energy, manipulation of the human mind, on an individual (MK Ultra) and mass (HAARP) scale is SO fantastic that who's going to believe it?
It's been around since the 50's and I suspect our buddy Kim Jong Il has played around with the technology a little too much on himself.
I suspect the use of these technologies on very bright individuals like Siddiqui is exactly what the shadow Gvt. has been doing for decades, kicking them to the curb once their usefulness has waned.
People don't know the half of what is meant by "Assymetric Warfare" and "Full Spectrum Dominance"
They are warring on our very mind.
But exploding boobs sells copy and the Goy look no further than that to be afraid.
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metal February 8th, 2010 7:08 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

"....and the Goy look no further than that to be afraid." ???

Does this mean all the right-wing American Zionist Mitnagdim don't?
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clovis February 8th, 2010 6:07 pm
Great post, poet. Let's not forget Zacharias Moussaoui as well, who was completely off his rocker from all the 'enhanced interrogation' by the time he came to trial. Moussaoui was the one whose laptop was confiscated by the FBI, who were then slapped down by higher-ups in Washington and told they were not allowed to open it. Maybe he too knew a few damning things before his brain got scrambled?
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Kitaj February 8th, 2010 5:22 pm
One never knows if and when such games are being played, but it is certainly possible.
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TheProf February 8th, 2010 4:34 pm
"At the trial 3 of 4 psychiatric experts concurred that she was faking mental illness." It seems that Siddiqui did not help her case by outbursts in court regarding terror plots. The prosecution reported that the Afghans took her into custody due to notes "referring to mass-casualty attacks and New York landmarks," hardly relevant to the case being tried. "The judge denied a motion for a mistrial. The trial took an unusual turn when an FBI official asserted that the fingerprints taken from the rifle, which was purportedly used by Aafia to shoot at the U.S. interrogators, did not match hers."

"According to Pakistani newspaper The News International the Taliban have threatened to execute US soldier Bowe Bergdahl in retaliation for Siddiqui's conviction"

Wikipedia is worth checking.

It seems this lady was mentally unstable and unfit for trial.
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 4:55 pm
"Mentally unstable and unfit for trial". I can imaine that might be true after five years of torture and solitary confinement, the loss of two of her children, one an American citizen, being dumped on the street, and then re-arrested because she was making raving threats of revenge and tried on a clearly false charge, after being shot twice in the stomach. Can't we see and feel, as American citizens and, hopefully, aware human beings, the surreal torture this person has been put through and just exactly what filthy, amoral and degenerate practices our taxes are paying for?
Tony Vodvarka
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Kitaj February 8th, 2010 5:38 pm
I agree. This extremely toxic mixture of fundamentalist christianity, fundamentalist capitalism and imperial militarism has resulted in an almost psychotic mind-set and worldview amongst the Imperial operatives at the heart of the Military-Industrial-Financial-Media Complex, and it is this psychosis that U.S. forces are unleashing and inflicting on innocent people all over the world. This worldview is so insane that the people *inside* it dont even know how existentially insane they are.

But there is more. I think elites all over the world know that the global industrial system is going to collapse, and what we are really seeing behind all of the various insanities is the elites grabbing what they can while there is still something to grab, not giving a damn what kind of damage they do and how many people they kill, and this mind-set is slowly spreading everywhere as the human race approaches global catastrophe if we do not radically change our adaptation to existence.

Check out this article by Richard Heinberg:

http://www.postcarbon.org/article/67429-china-or-the-u-s-which-will
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 6:20 pm
Well stated.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 6:03 pm
Very astute and frightening article. Wish I could disagree with it, but I cannot.

Well worth a read, but not if one is already in a depressed mood.

A sniplet: >>....In addition to its huge debt burden, the U.S. also suffers from a shrinking manufacturing base, a big trade deficit, eroding quality of education, and a foreign policy that serves the interests of arms manufacturers while undermining the long-term interests of the nation. Regarding the last of these items, a 2006 World Public Opinion poll showed large majorities in four leading ally nations (Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, and Indonesia), together accounting for a third of the Muslim world's population, believe the U.S. is determined to destroy or undermine Islam. Within those countries, most people surveyed support attacks on American targets. And it just so happens that most of the world's future oil supplies will be coming from Muslim nations. Brilliant.<<

Gary

“Disaster is a natural part of my evolution. Toward tragedy and dissolution.”
-- Chuck Palahniuk
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RV February 8th, 2010 5:53 pm
"I think elites all over the world know that the global industrial system is going to collapse ..."

At the least, they are very much aware that a major shift in the global power structure is on the near horizon and are scurrying madly to secure for themselves whatever they perceive as possible salvation from moment to moment.

So-called "collateral damage" has never been a significant consideration. It's just more prevalent and noticeable during "periods of adjustment" to use their own terminology.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 5:13 pm
Sioux Rose

TONY: Thank you for your genuine humanity! Everything you said is so painfully true!

POET: Great post. You definitely played sleuth on this one with class!
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 5:36 pm
When do we get really angry? One gets tired of anger, there is so much out there, but occasionally something like this comes up, so stinking, so vile and transparently evil, so unaccountable, that it is hard to know what to do.
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RV February 8th, 2010 4:53 pm
Perhaps they're running low on mentally stable 'terrorists' that can be brought to face U.S. 'justice' and a jury of their 'peers.' For that matter, has anyone checked the mental stability of the prosecuting authorities recently?
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 7:47 pm
Haaaaaaaaa
Or checked to see what meds they are on?
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 4:26 pm
Stay healthy everyone.
Health is your #1 priority.
Healthy and informed.
Every healthy body will eventually be required for the next Runnymede.
Do you think we will EVER pack the DC mall again like back in the 60's?
There is and has been a better way for decades.
The better way is not in the interest of profits and control of the goy.
Play dumb and hands at the 10 & 2 while driving.
The King and his Knights do not like serfs who sass back.
And I DO feel bad for anyone who has brown skin or middle eastern features in this country.
Seriously, I'm a white dude with blue eyes and the state probably considers me a threat.
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aremagen February 8th, 2010 4:06 pm
"..permitting jailers, spies, kidnappers and assassins to operate outside of the rule of law contaminates us with our own bile...have created a system of internal...state terrorism far more dangerous than Islamic radicals."

Our "noble minded" leaders do not care in the least about what physical danger we in. You can tell that by the food, health-care, consumer and environmental laws we all live under.

This country's corporate/gov't does not deserve our allegiance any longer. They deserve only our contempt and need to be resisted and defeated in order to save the majority.
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Swami Monkeypooh February 8th, 2010 6:38 pm
"They deserve only our contempt and need to be resisted and defeated in order to save the majority."

What does it look like to resist and defeat the "country's corporate/gov't"? How do you propose to dissolve your allegiance? Sarah Palin suggests we need a new "revolution". Her words are empty rhetoric. I doubt she knows what she is saying. You, I assume, are much brighter. So what do you suggest?
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aremagen February 8th, 2010 7:54 pm
I propose to dissolve my allegiance to the leaders of this country, not allegiance to democracy.

A person can start out by simply withdrawing any support whatsoever from the R & D parties. You help the ones on the bottom, you automatically help the ones on the top.

There are other political parties; socialist, green, that you can vote for even though they won't win. It would be a protest (resistance) vote.

Pick an organization that is apolitical and support their efforts like Nader's organizations.

Write letters to the editor and voice your displeasure with the two-party system.

Whenever you get mail from the Ds or Rs write Return on the envelope, mail it and make them pay for it.

I plan to write Senator Durbin from Illinois and tell them that if he votes for health-care reform without a public option or SB 7139 (a law which will automatically bailout any future bank failures) that I will vote for neither the new D Senator nor the D Governor.

I haven't voted for a D since 1988.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 5:18 pm
Sioux Rose

AREMAGEN: So true! "Unsafe at any speed" on steroids! And that's why, in fiction, I cloned Ralph Nader. We'd need a LEGION of him, clones of a modern equivalent of David to stand up to so many industrial Goliaths. Luckily, nature, source of so much of the wealth claimed by these "artificial persons" has about had it with the abuse... and when the great Mother gets fed up, a whole lotta shakin starts goin on.
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Jack Chase February 8th, 2010 6:14 pm
Sioux Rose

I look forward to your comments. Thank you for them. I bet you've read Ceanne DeRohan. I'm not conventionally religious yet I feel that the only way out of this is Divine intervention. I concur, Mother nature always wins.
Seems you've written fiction. Re: the reading thereof. Where, what, how?
PeaceLoveTruthBeauty!
Jack Chase
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 7:03 pm
Sioux Rose

JACK CHASE: I've been writing movie scripts since 1995 and so far not sold a thing. Since I believe in my work (and a few friends have told me they're quite good), I began self-publishing some of these scripts, converted into novels. One is entitled, "The Caretakers," and another, "To See Among The Blind." I just completed a second edition of a very humorous children's book (for "children of all ages"), entitled, "Cassandra's Tale." It makes use of insects to portray the twelve original archetypes, a/k/a Zodiac signs and each one's unique character. It's my idea of a way to teach children the great circle, heaven's model of democracy in which the long-standing ism divisions may be at last transcended. It also offers the ancient recipe, the key one that bypasses the nonsensical "one size fits all" approach of our times. In contrast it reflects the unique and Divine purposes assigned to each of the 12 sacred paths. Jesus chose 12 disciples and Abraham founded 12 tribes. This "12 thing" has a certain cosmic ring to it!

If you google my name, my website pops up with info on all my books. I have written eight, with two anticipated ones now in development. I appreciate your asking and of course, am thankful for your complimentary acknowledgement!
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Jack Chase February 8th, 2010 10:50 pm
Thank you Sioux Rose, way. I will look them up. My heart dilates reading your and other comments here. I am familiar with the Twelve of twelve thousand. Maybe there is something to the metaphysical/spiritual reading I've been doing since teenage days, oh so long ago. As an artist whose income has been turned off like a faucet, thinking it's not called making a living for nothing, and not too happy about, nor ready for, the alternative, I hope I can hang on to see Mother in all Her glory, where She needs to be, again.

"Trust those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it." Andre Gide

Jack Chase
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:17 pm
Sioux Rose

JACK: I can appreciate the status of "starving artist" as our nation does not reward its artists, mystics, poets, visionaries, or inventors. If you go to my site and read the blurbs on the books I have available and then email me, I'd be happy to send you one gratis copy of your choice. If I did what I did for the money, I'd have quit long ago! Like the commercial for Levy's Rye Bread done years ago, I, too "answer to a higher authority."
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One Marxist February 8th, 2010 1:58 pm
Mr Spock:

"No sign of intelligent life here, one to beam up."
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Ephraim February 8th, 2010 1:53 pm
We can speculate for years as to Siddiqui's guilt or innocence but the fascists in the military and the FBI have muddied the waters so much that we'll never know the truth, which is a central element to their strategy. Have "witnesses" tell a hundred conflicting stories, then throw her in prison regardless of substantial evidence. That's how we handle accused terrorists. They're guilty the moment they're accused, taking a page from Kafka. Soon we'll all be Joseph K.

Siddiqui is just a scapegoat to illustrate a point. In the phony war on terror, anyone anywhere may be snatched up for extraordinary rendition or assassinated in broad daylight to drive the lesson home: Remain in fear of terrorism or risk being accused of it yourself. Obama endorses this terrorism practiced on the public at large. How many more lives will he destroy in this delusional war on "terror", where those allegedly fighting the war are the REAL terrorists? The president being terrorist in chief.
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clovis February 8th, 2010 2:43 pm
Ephraim: "Remain in fear of terrorism or risk being accused of it yourself."

That pretty well sums it up.

Another variant, which we could call the Cass Sunstein Law, might be: "Believe in terrorism, or you are a terrorist."
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RV February 8th, 2010 2:10 pm
"The president being terrorist in chief."

Good grief! Let us not award any addtitional titles to an office with powers that already exceed those that absolute monarchs of days gone by could only dream of in their wildest imaginings. A jeweled crown is the only missing item, and even Caesar was smart enough to reject such an obvious symbol of tyrannical power.

Perhaps he could get away with a small laurel wreath and maybe a codpiece for certain military occasions.
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Old Peculiar February 8th, 2010 5:18 pm
Hah! Been there, seen that.

Codpiece = Mission Accomplished
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RV February 8th, 2010 1:28 pm
"These abuses, justified by the war on terror, have created a system of internal and external state terrorism that is far more dangerous to our security and democracy than the threat posed by Islamic radicals."

The problem as always, Mr Hedges, is the so-called justification.

The 'war to end war' had a much nicer ring to it. Even 'making the world safe for democracy' had some appeal despite the questionable credentials of its primary advocates. But the jingoist sloganeers have fallen short ever since.

I suppose it's increasingly difficult to find any positive bases for aggressive warfare in a nation that so exemplifies every negative value imaginable. So fighting to alleviate the pervasive terror of the citizenry will have to do, I guess, even 'tho the great preponderance of that terror, both internal and external, originates within the state that is allegedly leading the fight against it.

One wonders at times whether a more honest 'U.S. war for the expansion of multinational corporate interests with no allegiance to any country' might not work just as well with the largely indifferent American populace. It would certainly save a lot of global wincing at such obviously phony American propaganda.
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coolhead February 8th, 2010 1:24 pm
Being able to "convict" a Muslim woman of terror-related charges is incredibly important to our genocidal crusade called "war on terror". A conviction like this wins over milions of US hearts and opens them up to tolerate bombings of houses filled with women and children, in an effort to terrorize locals into fleeing, or putting down their arms against the mammoth aggressor.
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metal February 8th, 2010 1:02 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

"And where are the other two children, one of whom also is an American citizen?"

"Siddiqui’s defense team pointed out that there was an absence of bullets, casings or residue from the M4, all of which suggested it had not been fired. They played a video to show that two holes in a wall supposedly caused by the M4 had been there before July 18."

This is most probably a standard CIA/military cover-up for a botched hand-over from the CIA torturers to the Military & FBI for what they originally hoped would be a Military Tribunal Commissions trial they could kite into a propaganda coup (with an even grander fabricated terrorist plot) they could pimp to the corporate McNews whores. It probably went bad when she panicked and tried to flee the police station unarmed so, bullet-heads and cowards that they are, one of them panicked and shot her so they had to re-rig the story from there on.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 6:12 pm
Sound like a reasonable scenario except by her own account she did not try to flee but simply stood up and frightened the CIA and FBI cowards (convinced by their own propaganda to be over-wary of suspected "terrorists"); who then shot her in the stomach, and tried to cover-up their error.

And succeeded in doing so.

Gary

“You should treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster”
-- Quentin Crisp
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glenn ford February 8th, 2010 12:49 pm
It is a challenge to be simultaneously aware of the massive horrors being implemented worldwide,from death, to control,to theft and still not be sickened.

I am curious if people who experienced the Great Depression and Hilters greatest depth of power perceive today as worse.

Would a tax revolt actually starve the government or would they just print more money, and would that create hyper-inflation?

Does all the money borrowed, in the form of treasury bonds,which has the USA at the economic mercy of China, maintain the trade deficit or does it support the yearly budget also?
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Basenjis February 8th, 2010 11:52 pm
As I recall the Great Depression from my childhood and the end of the Hitler regime as a young war widow, those times were so different and the values and interests of ordinary people so different that it might as well have been a different world as well as a different time.

When the full exposure of the results of Hitler's pathology and the full truth of the results of the twisted minds that conceived of such evil were revealed, ordinary Americans recoiled in horror and disbelief. It was not as though no one had never known such unspeakable things had ever happened before. We knew, but they had happened far away in what we thought of as less civilized, almost imaginary places that seemed totally removed from the familiar USA.

For my generation, having had husbands and brothers, uncles and cousins, and all the young men we had grown up with, fighting and dying to make the world safe for all of us back home the final revelations of Hitler's barbarity made it all seem up close and personal. But we all knew such insanity would never be unleashed on the world again for we would never allow it to happen. We were sure of that.

Life in America in these times may be good for some people, but for too many, it is worse, much worse than I ever remember. The economic conditions, however, bad as they are, still allow for many more ordinary families to live much better than the average family in the depths of the Great Depression. The deprivation of the 30's was so wide-spread that almost everyone was affected and in such a way that, as the old saying goes, you'd just have had to be there to understand. I remember when my mother was thrilled to get a new broom at Christmas. Forget new clothes, toys, or new anything. That continued through the Great War as everything was rationed.

But that was all right as we knew things would get better--which is the difference between these dreary economic times and these. Not much of a sense of hope today. When I was growing up wearing hand-me-down shoes and dreaming of the wonderful things I was going to do and all the wonderful places I would go when I grew up, we all knew things were going to get better--and in the meantime, we dreamed, we shared and we coped. We also had a president who gave wonderful fireside radio talks that pulled the whole country together and made us feel he shared in our problems and was working to make things better. Today's dreams, in contrast, have largely given way to anxiety about an uncertain future for children and young people.

There is a loss of faith today that corrodes and undermines the public trust to the point almost of mass paranoia. We've been lied to and decieved by people we should be able to trust for so long that lies seem to substitute for public policy. Small wonder that new conspiracy theories arise every day. Nothing, as it turns out, is ever what it appears to be. We vote for one thing and get another. We can't be sure our vote is counted and we feel certain our voices are not heard. Books are being written by professionals who warn us of the taking over of big business and public power by psychopaths who masquerade as sympathetic to populist causes while conning the unwary. The union itself seems to be coming unglued. We are trapped in endless, senseless, contrived, brutal wars and the powers that be openly speak of wars of the future. These futile wars have been going on almost continuously since my youth and still they continue at enormous cost of lives and of treasure into my old age.

I think America has lost its way and I grieve for my country, but I do not for one minute believe all is lost. If we look at the past, it becomes more and more clear that history has valuable lessons to teach us if we can just pay close attention to those lessons. We have choices. Nothing remains the same for long and it is pointless to try to cling to notions of what we have lost or to wish to return to what we think of as better times. But we can build a better future if we make wiser choices.

Most human beings are better people than they are made out to be and want a better world. Why should the peaceful, hardworking majority be dominated and manipulated by the elite minority? We need to have a government that represents the needs of the people instead of catering to those who are lost in some fantasy of great riches or world domination. A better world is not only possible for those who now despair, but we may be on the very threshold of change. Let it happen peacefully.

There is already a collective grass roots awakening to the need for genuine change--not only in the way we are governed, but in the way we think and of what we value as a people. I keep hoping these transformations will come, and come soon--but doubt it will happen from the top down but rather from the bottom up--from the people themselves. I may not be here to see it, but I have a lot of faith in the new generations now coming up.
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Basenjis February 9th, 2010 7:18 pm
May I add that these are my thoughts on the 65th anniversary of the death of my young husband, a commando in WWII. He lost his life in Luxemburg on Feb. 8, 1945 parachuting ahead of the US forces in the final stages of the Battle of the Bulge. He was 21 years old. My 19 year old brother was killed 4 month earlier in France.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:43 pm
Sioux Rose

BASENJIS: Wonderful and enlightened post. Thank you for still believing in the higher spirit of humankind, and for sharing the powerful witness of your own personal experience and wisdom.
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GwNorth February 9th, 2010 12:25 am
Thank you for taking the time to express your ideals. Good stuff.
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Madhoosier February 9th, 2010 12:01 am
Thank You for your comment
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metal February 9th, 2010 12:11 am
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

Excellent comment, Basenjis.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 6:17 pm
>>Does all the money borrowed, in the form of treasury bonds,which has the USA at the economic mercy of China, maintain the trade deficit or does it support the yearly budget also?.<<

Both of these I am pretty sure is based upon borrowed money, but then the government for half the year is operating on the cuff.

Gary

“I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.”
-- Thomas Jefferson
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mtdon February 8th, 2010 2:04 pm
we already have had massive inflation in housing..... in the 1970's and 80's you could get a nice house for around 1.5 times your income...... Now you can get a decent house for around 10 times your income.....

and there went your discresionary income......

I call it the 20 dollar rule..... every utility, insurance policy etc wants that last 20 dollars from my wallet.....

the problem is THEY ALL WANT IT - leaving me bankrupted on the side of the road in the ditch.....greedy bastards!
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rfloh February 8th, 2010 4:50 pm
Some points about the inflation in house prices:

At the same time that property prices have massively inflated, salaries have stayed fairly stagnant.

The result being that people who already own (nice) houses / properties see the value of those properties inflating fast, their monetary wealth goes up, even if their salaries are stagnant. People who are trying to get a house for the first time, however face huge issues: ever increasing price of housing, combined with stagnant salaries.

This economic policy of inflating land prices, while holding down the cost of labour, has been ongoing for the last 30 years.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 5:21 pm
Sioux Rose

RFLOH: In Florida BOTH are going down at the same time. Care to wager a prediction on what that will lead to?
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 1:28 pm
The government IS going to print more money because it must to pay off the bonds which support both trade and budget deficits.

"I am curious if people who experienced the Great Depression and Hilters greatest depth of power perceive today as worse."

My mother (79) and aunt (84) are incredulous at the actions of the US Empire and say it no longer represents them. I second their opinions and have written that the federal government has effectively seceded from the states that created it.
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glenn ford February 8th, 2010 2:21 pm
Thanks Karlof
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waiguoren February 8th, 2010 12:02 pm
This epigraph form Hedges' "Empire of Illusion" says it well:

"We had fed the heart on fantasy,

The heart's grown brutal from the fare."

William Butler Yeats
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mcoyote February 8th, 2010 11:11 am
Standard procedure in The Homeland.

Welcome To The Homeland

Welcome to Germany
Welcome to the Hyper-White Techno-Evangelical Inquisition.

800 billion additional dollars to the Lockheed-Halliburton-Raytheon War Machine

Now up to over a trillion dollars for the Brown&Root- Dyncorp- Blackwater Killing Complex;

In addition to the regular 500 million or so a minute for the
Narcotics Trafficking- CIA- Military- Industrial- World's Greatest Polluter- Criminal Think Tank Complex

Small scale tactical nuclear weapons cocktails
served up to brown skinned children
with distended bellies
by well-manicured barbarians in Citadels and Mansions
by their servants in boardrooms
with distended bellies

With 725 military bases
With 350 outposts
In 132 countries
In Every jungle
In Every tree
All baby-faced tamarinds run for cover, hiding in their mother's breasts

America- A fundamentally sick society
America- A culture of conquest

Get out of Iraq Get out of Viet Nam
America get out of Colombia
America get off the Rez
America get out of Afghanistan
America get out of etcetera

America, a fundamentally sick society.

Welcome to Plastic Racist Nation
Welcome to McAmeriWal-Martika
Germany- The Fatherland
America- The Homeland
Welcome to Soft Fascism

General Reinhard Gehlen head of German military intelligence on the Eastern front and his network of spies and terrorists were brought over to the USA after World War 2 in the now well known Operation Paperclip. From these advisers and functionaries, Allen Dulles, copying many of the methods utilized by the likes of Herr Gehlen, shaped what we now know to be the CIA.

Instruments of Statecraft
Counterinsurgency Literature

Strangle Them- Starve Them
Hold an election
Call it Democracy

I pledge allegiance to the United Sports Utility Vehicle
of Der Father- der Home Land of the Fee
Home Land of Wage Slavery
Land of Tidy White Bestiality
A Land of Pre-Ordained Brutality
A Land of Hyper-Tense Entreprenurial Mentality

Overthrow Castro
Overthrow Arbenz
Overthrow Mossadegh
Overthrow Chavez
Overthrow National Sovereignty
Overthrow Dignity

It is time to stop living
The Lie that is America- I Secede
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 6:22 pm
Every word rings true. What else is there to say?
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clovis February 8th, 2010 2:35 pm
I like your poetry, coyote: "Tidy White Bestiality / Pre-Ordained Brutality / Hyper-Tense Entrepreneurial Mentality"

Quite a triad.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 6:26 pm
Reminds me that once upon a time Bob Dylan wrote lyrics as good as that.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 1:58 pm
Sioux Rose

MCOYOTE: Great post! It should be a mantra featured as progressive radio rap!
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mcoyote February 9th, 2010 9:02 am
Thanks Sioux.

Don't write much poetry these days. Wrote this a few years back. Maybe I need to rekindle a flame.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:24 pm
Sioux Rose

MCOYOTE: Looks like the flame is burning brightly. The forum has just given you a standing ovation. Bravo! Now you can write your next poem or opus!
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highkarate February 8th, 2010 12:55 pm
mccoyote,

Great stuff man!

So what if it is negative! So is half of the stuff on here but at least this is creative.

Very well done!

jasondylan
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Obedient Servant February 8th, 2010 12:51 pm
Well, sure, but... how 'bout that Super Bowl? Who dat?

I understand that one of the teams won! Surely THAT will turn your frown upside down!

· Yr Obd't Servant
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iowapinko February 8th, 2010 12:07 pm
By the way, seaglass, your flip dismissal of the moving work of art posted by mcoyote is really frustrating. Read it again, I think you might learn something, geeeeeeeeeeeeeez!
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iowapinko February 8th, 2010 11:51 am
I share your concerns and linger on the tantalising idea of secession.
But I think we need to take some resonsibility for the terror that our nation manifests for others, for the violence and the poverty of both resources and soul that we represent.

What if those of us who want to resist secede through the action of tax-resistance? If enough people had the courage to with-hold economic support, it would slow down their system.
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SEAGLASS February 8th, 2010 11:35 am
Chill dude your going to give yourself a stroke. Its not worth getting yourself so crazed. Your allowing these assholes to defeat u by letting their sheer madness to infect your soul.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:03 pm
Sioux Rose

SEAGLASS: Your implies possession, such as "Please take your coat." You're means you are, and it's a verb. Thus, "You're allowing these..." etc. As a former English teacher, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking poorly of those posts that don't demonstrate even a 5th grade educational level in their use of grammar and diction. And you sure sound like someone else on these threads whose whole purpose appears to be the human equivalent of dispensing Prosac. "Stay calm, everyone. Everything is under control. Just extend a little more patience and trust towards your benevolent leaders." Sure...
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 1:33 pm
I disagree. Writing is a form of therapy and helps keep us sane.
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koalaburger February 8th, 2010 11:03 am
A jury trial means being judged by people too dumb to get out of jury duty.
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Madhoosier February 8th, 2010 11:20 am
Plus those that want to fry some ragheads.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:52 pm
I do not want to get out of jury duty. I want to hang a jury in a bullshit drug case.
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Madhoosier February 8th, 2010 11:53 pm
You set your sights too low, given the endless B.S. that Federal prosecutors use to win drug cases such as framing the workers at state approved marijuana distribution outlets as drug kingpins,* it’s my hope to get a jury to return a verdict of Not Guilty.

*While this tactic was common during the administration of George W. Bush supposedly under Obama the Feds will not be going after state sanctioned medical marijuana facilities. It’s my guess that even under the new policy the Feds will still use every dirty trick allowed during the war on drugs to send minor offenders away for years.

The war on drugs laid the entire ground work for destroying the Bill of Rights. Had there not been a million holes shot in the Bill of Rights and the rights of the accused during the war on drugs Bush would not have had such an easy task in shredding the rest of the Bill of Rights
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:37 pm
Sioux Rose

MADHOOSIER: Excellent post. Your final paragraph echoes something I have been also relating for years, and few seem willing or wanting to connect the ominous dots. I am very glad that you see what I have been noticing. I remember standing on the White House lawn for a huge anti-Vietnam war protest with thousands of long-hairs, and lots of joints going around. Plus we burned effigies of Richard Nixon RIGHT there. The neocons of that time knew they could not block our right to vote, unless they could come up with ways to charge us with breaking laws. So they made the leisure drug of our generation into the great taboo and presto, 2 million incarcerated. (Obviously this is not the only category used to imprison Americans.)Peace-loving peace-pipe passing youth suddenly on the "most wanted" lists for drug-based detention, and a nation of "crimial records" is born, or should I say reborn. And then in some instances this voting block's right to vote has been negated. It's been an insidious little assault on liberty. Now they've worked to erode the very CONCEPT of privacy, starting with the Jerry Springer tell-all, spill-your-guts talk shows, to the "Survivor-styled" public's viewing eyes cast over others' private acts, deeds, and thoughts. From there, it's onto making torture into another entertainment feature, and suddenly, all BASES for civil liberties slip-slide away. The dark side has never lacked for imagination or resourcefulness. All the money pouring in from right wing think tanks, and/or military (DARPA) initiatives and programs poses no shortage to an invasive set of 21st century style tactics, all improvisations upon the old theme of total control of citizens, particularly those capable of stepping out of line in thought or deed. Like us.
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iowapinko February 8th, 2010 10:43 am
km0591,
I hear your despair and frustration with what does seem to be an overwhelming tsunami of evil. And yes, I think we have been a rogue nation for some time now. Very few question an investment in weapons that is greater than all of the other nations of the world COMBINED.

But there ARE those few, who despite overwhelming conditioning, misinformation and manipulation, see through it all to the truth. They are questioning the actions of empire. The seemingly insatiable quest for more, more, more. And there are growing numbers of people who are questioning the plausibility of progress inside our corporate-controlled duopoly.

There are people, like Chris Hedges and like Howard Zinn and like you whose humanity resonates with the fullness of compassion that we were meant to attain.
Yes, knowledge can be isolating and painful. It has always been easier to collaborate than to confront.

I have the sense that we are nearing a precipice of change. We need every single person like you to be at the front vanguard of that change to keep it on the track of human progress.
Don't ever gve up.
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Swza February 8th, 2010 12:21 pm
Thank you for this post. Words like these always make me feel uplifted because I agree with their sentiment. Zinn wrote an article explaining how history is full of unpredictable and sudden revolutions that have exploded out of the bleakest times and I believe and hope this is one of these times.

I too can see a precipice of real change on the horizon. And though it won't happen with this administration I do believe it will happen sooner than most expect.
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dubet February 8th, 2010 10:27 am
from the article:

"The leader of one FBI counterterrorism squad told The New York Times that of the 5,500 terrorism-related leads its 21 agents had pursued over the past five years, just 5 percent were credible and not one had foiled an actual terrorist plot. These statistics strike me as emblematic of the entire war on terror.

Terrorism, however, is a very good business. The number of extremists who are planning to carry out terrorist attacks is minuscule, but there are vast departments and legions of ambitious intelligence and military officers who desperately need to strike a tangible blow against terrorism, real or imagined, to promote their careers as well as justify obscene expenditures and a flagrant abuse of power."

yes, one of the great things about the extortion business is the ability to play both sides concurrently...

if you don't have actual terrorists to justify your expensive, and invasive, 'security', you can BE the terrorist...
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WTF February 8th, 2010 12:32 pm
Don't forget, US defense/security is our largest jobs/welfare program, but don't tell that to Tea Baggers as they hate socialism.
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clovis February 8th, 2010 10:25 am
Good article by Hedges, about a very important case that should be getting more press.

One comment, however. Hedges writes that "the threat posed by Islamic extremists, while real, is also wildly overblown, used to foster a climate of fear and political passivity, as well as pump billions of dollars into the hands of the military, private contractors, intelligence agencies and repressive client governments including that of Pakistan."

This, of course, is true, but he neglects a couple of important aspects of the problem, the first being that it is very much in the interests of Israel and the Zionists in the US to overplay, if not feed, the terrorist threat, as this plays directly into their own scenario of the Middle East problem and helps strengthen the already strong identification of America's interests (an angle much cultivated by the MSM) with those of Israel. Clearly, this aspect of the question is inseparable from the self-feeding needs of the MIC as articulated by Hedges, but it still bears being stated more explicitly.

The other aspect his article neglects is that the Siddiqui "trial," with its clearly false testimony and bizarre background, fits the pattern of trumped-up events, including false confessions obtained by torture and mysterious car bombings that seem to serve only the interests of the occupiers, used by the US government and military to justify wars and military actions that have no clear, irrefutable justification in fact or evidence.

I think both these considerations are essential to a fuller understanding of what this terrible show trial represents.
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 10:30 am
The saddest thing is that which you correctly label "trumped-up events" are swallowed hook, line and sinker by most of our fellow citizens.
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hamster February 8th, 2010 9:55 am
The ones who should have been on trial are the ones who abducted her in the first place. This is madness.
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Erroll February 8th, 2010 9:38 am
What could be the crux of this article is when Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network, accurately point out that, "It is difficult to get a fair trial in this country if the government wants to accuse you of terrorism." As Tony V. notes, not one juror on that trial apparently had the intelligence to question whether the U.S. government could possibly have fabricated the charges against Ms. Siddiqui in order to promote their bogus war on terrorism. Perhaps the solution is to make sure that any trials involving charges of terrorism against individuals, either foreign or domestic, be held on neutral ground to ensure that an American jury will not be swayed by their patriotic emotions. One has to also wonder how much exposure this trial has received in the American corporate media.
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bardamu February 8th, 2010 5:26 pm
It's hard to get even an unfair trial if the government accuses you of terrorism. They disappear people.
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metal February 8th, 2010 1:07 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

There have been scattered reports about the allegations against Ms. Siddiqui, scant intelligent coverage of her trial. This article is the first that I've read that even mentions she has two children who are missing. Few Americans know that we imprisoned and tortured children (and may still do so far as I know) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 1:40 pm
Oh, but in Pakistan, there's lots of press and very large protests that you also didn't hear about. The Pakistanis correctly view the USA as an enemy that's invaded their country, to the point where India is no longer seen as the greatest threat. The current government of Pakistan will not stand much longer unless it starts to actively fight against the USA.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:50 pm
Why can't more people in this country try to imagine themselves in a country that is the subject of all of thus USA bullshit? We seem to think its okay to just go occupy any country we feel like. Well, suppose the US was occupied by, oh, say, China. I guess we'd just love that. We'd just love the government of China wouldn't we?
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Giovanna February 8th, 2010 9:01 pm
Kent,

Thank you for making this point. In its dealings with the international community, US behavior defines the audacity of hypocrisy at full stretch.

Through its arrogant and lofty rhetoric claiming the doctrine of "preventative war," its repeated failure to honor international treaties, resolutions, and laws it finds inconvenient, and by committing acts of naked aggression, terrorism, subversion, and economic interventions in the affairs of sovereign, foreign nations, the US declares itself EXEMPT, with impunity, from the principles of universality, i.e., the application to itself the same standards it applies to others. Per Noam Chomsky, "... if we adopt the principle of universality : if an action is right (or wrong) for others, it is right (or wrong) for us. Those who do not rise to the minimal moral level of applying to themselves the standards they apply to others -- more stringent ones, in fact -- plainly cannot be taken seriously when they speak of appropriateness of response; or of right and wrong, good and evil. ”
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 5:32 pm
We are occupied by ourselves. Evidence: the Patriot Act and other executive directives combined with no accountibility for the massive law breaking done.

Have you ever considered that Big Brother doesn't watch us; rather, we watch it?
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 9:13 am
It is a sign of our almost complete moral degeneration that this New York jury did not have at least one citizen who refused to convict, causing a hung jury in this travesty of legal procedure. Our government shames us more and more each day.
Tony Vodvarka
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GwNorth February 8th, 2010 11:09 am
Nor would any object during the Salem Witch trials.

The questions is , are American Citizens regressing out of fear of not be seen as part of "The Mob" and thus a traitor , or is it the baseness of the desire to see another SUFFER?

The next time someone suggests you should be ashamed for not supporting US troops in Afghanistan or ridiculed for comparing the US "Officials" to the Gestapo point to this as an example of not only WHY you feel that way but WHERE the mob will go when they put loyalty to Country above loyalty to truth and justice.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:37 pm
Sioux Rose

GWNORTH: You should be a U.S. Senator! Your perspective takes so much into account, if only we had reps like you!

I would add to your thesis the stupidity factor. The mob aspect, or the need for many to go along to get along, as opposed to risking the psychological price of being castigated as an outcast, is of course major. Yet there are so many who truly do not understand, are so enculturated to an authoritarian belief system that they trust what their "leaders" tell them; and they honesty see the world through the prism of good guys and bad, and seldom consider that their own might fall into the camp of the latter. In a word: conditioning, 24/7, the Bernays' dream machine out in full power to manufacture consent and absolutely marginalize all voices of intelligent dissent. As a result, a lot of people really have NO IDEA what's actually at stake, or going on.
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Old Peculiar February 8th, 2010 5:02 pm
Thank you, thank you! Great posts all around.

Sioux Rose, your contributions to this site are invaluable.

I just want to add one of those Seven Deadlies, Sloth, to the equation. It is one of the major human flaws - okay, make that 'Sins' - that allow the Bernaysian conditioning to take hold so completely. To those of us who do our homework, it may seem to be the stupidity factor, but in the end, my compassion takes over and I realize that there are too many variables (education, nurturing, respect - or lack of) that contribute to the corruption of the Human Spirit. Who are we to judge? For when we witness the uncorrupted, mature, Human Spirit it is awesome to behold --- R.I.P. Howard!

And most disturbingly, this laziness of which I speak leads directly to the Savior Syndrome we've been witnessing this past year.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 5:34 pm
Sioux Rose

OLD PECULIAR: This lady lion likes the pat on the head. Gracias. And I fully agree with you. It does warrant compassion to recognize the POTENTIAL of so many persons who instead have, as you put it, let sloth put their urge to learn to sleep. Most of us recall the lines from "The Once and Future King" where Merlin reminds King Arthur that in this world he may see his greatest dream tank, his most cherished love betray him, even his friends turn away. And thus what is the prescription for getting on with this thing, this precious gift called human life? Merlin defined it as learning. As a teacher, I have been interested in that; and as a natural radical given to marching to her own drummer, when I was about to graduate from SUNY at Albany, there was a surplus of teachers in New York State. Thus the protocol was for very strict criteria to be met before one would be licensed. The supervisor who was known to just drop in on te classes of novice, student-teachers had a reputation for strictness. I later learned that indeed he was a Virgo (the sign known for its natural penchant for perfectionism). Anyway, I was wild in those glorious college days, and I partied late at night only to show up to class late. He thought he had my number and warned me. Yet when he walked in on me teaching Shakespeare (I think it was Macbeth) to a group of slow readers, he was essentially mesmerized. He took me to lunch and told me "Seldom have I been more impressed with a classroom demonstration." He then admonished me that I still had to pass his final exam. I got a 97 thanks to an almost photographic memory.

The Bahai faith sees the teacher as one of the few noble professions. And it is the teacher's gift, art, and challenge to inspire that love of learning in students. What's pitted against that ideal currently is the MSM with its mesmerizing powers, the lousy faux food filler that shuts off brain chemistry, and the awful weight of our increasing materialistic obligations in the form of all the dues that "Caesar" claims from our labors and allotment of daily bread. In short, there are no simple cookie cutter answers to what ails us; for the entire society has been inculcated to the most insidious of values. In truth, a good part of the nation functions as do addicts (to a number of substances), and therefore a MASSIVE detox is called for. THAT will be part of the wake-up call the stars tell me is not long in coming.

Thank you for the glowing words. They keep me going as a mostly unacknowledged writer.
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Old Peculiar February 9th, 2010 11:44 am
Beautiful. I look forward to reading that book of yours.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:40 pm
Sioux Rose

Old Peculiar: Thank you for your kindness.
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BodhiHawk February 8th, 2010 9:52 am
nicely said.
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petrkrop February 8th, 2010 9:32 am
"Our government shames us more and more each day."

You are right, and also we shame ourselves. The failure of even one juror to refuse to convict is sickening and frightening; not what I would have expected of the supposedly skeptical and savvy citizens of NYC.

It was only six years ago that a jury in Boise, Idaho, refused to convict Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a University of Idaho computer science student and citizen of Saudi Arabia who had been accused of terrorism and visa fraud for building and maintaining Web sites for Islamic groups.

Those 12 Idaho jurors refused to buy the government's lies and refused to be complicit in destroying an innocent man's life, even if he was an Arab. I'm not aware of any other jury in a "terrorist" trial in the U.S. that has shown the integrity and courage of these people in (very) redneck Idaho.

But maybe the feds learned something in Boise, and who's to say that, in this time when the president of the U.S. claims the right to order the murder U.S. citizens abroad, that the jurors in NYC weren't subjected to threats by the CIA? Why would the government stop at jury-tampering, if they're okay with murder?
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clovis February 8th, 2010 10:08 am
Actually, petrkrop, it was probably more a case of the right of lawyers, in the American jury selection process, to exclude any potential juror, for any reason whatsoever, even for no reason at all. And in this case the prosecution probably excluded anyone who appeared to have an IQ above fifty.

I think the Idaho case shows, in any case, that the fringe anti-Fed cowboys of Idaho are actually more hip to the evils that lurk in the nation's capital than are the common citizens of New York City, who are perpetually bombarded with mass media propaganda.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:45 pm
Sioux Rose

CLOVIS: Good points. I would add that the very fact this took place 7 years ago speaks volumes. In those same 7 years the fear-machine has been packaging its own version of the war on terror to such an extent that the entire political axis has shifted further to the right (which of course is fed by fear, in its will to control and render authoritarian "principles" the law of the land). A lot of conditioning has taken place to make sure that most can no longer BE neutral. Propaganda does that over time... like the lie told often enough.
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 10:24 am
Recall also the South Dakota jury that refused to covict the first group of defendants that were accused of murdering FBI agents in the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975 ("The Incident at Ogalala").
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clovis February 8th, 2010 10:26 am
Good point. Thanks for that.
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km0591 February 8th, 2010 9:11 am
The American empire has, for decades, operated without concern for human rights and engaging in numerous abuses both at home and abroad. That is hardly news. However, this has accelerated with a level of impunity as well as level of complicity on the part of our political leadership and "we the people" over the last several years that is new and omnimous.

We are to the point that we have become a rogue nation where power has become its own justification. Elections are now only a show since that power is derived from its own concentration and existence and not from the consent of the governed. A passive and uninformed and misinformed population is well managed with the usual nauseating pieties to "supporting the troops," with the constant drumbeat of fear-mongering, and with the Orwellian appeals for the protection of the "Homeland."

Meanwhile our treasuries of resources: moral, legal, spiritual, and financial are being pillaged to condemn our future and that of future generations to perpetual darkness, fear, despair, and decline.

There is no hope.

We will not self correct since the system is so corrupt and dysfunctional that it can only spin into collapse to then lead to a decidedly grim and uncertain future. All systems social, biological, or physical can reach a point where their decline and disintegration becomes inevitable.

And that's where we are.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:36 pm
Sad to say, very well put. I'm 60. I've seen enough also to know that your commentary is spot on.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:54 pm
Sioux Rose

KM: I agree with your assessment. Some days I feel more positive, in spite of it, than others. But this key is always true: Crisis owns the seeds of new and unique opportunity. Also stated as, "Serendipity favors the prepared mind," and "Necessity is the Mother of invention."

I do not think we have the capacity to imagine what is next. However, the labor process that takes us to this next phase, Phoenix rising in symbolic form, will not be easy or gentle. Still, this climax may signify the lifetime we've all prepared for... where the sum of our past skills, knowledge, and inner know-how come to the fore. Often a person doesn't know what they are made of until some test warrants its demonstration. Such a catalyst runs parallel to the passion Chris Hedges has associated with war in some of his earlier writings. Living on THAT edge can galvanize the individual to produce... or go beyond his or her previous limits. Lots of us will be riding the edge, and thus obtain the opportunity to know "the rush" and exceed ourselves in what its momentum may cast us into creating.
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old goat February 8th, 2010 5:40 pm
I would add observations of Buckminster Fuller - synergy - alignment is an observable dynamic along the lines of Serendipity favoring the prepared mind.

Each generation has what it needs to for mystical allignment - love. It requires attention and exercise, particularly in tough situations.

We each see a portion, as we are part of a greater whole. The greater whole being the stuff of our being, we know the greater whole 'in our bones'.

Faith is not blind, it sees with the third eye.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 7:08 pm
Sioux Rose

OLD GOAT: Your references support the points I attempted to make. Thank you for bringing your insights to the forum. Naturally, I agree!
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Oikos February 8th, 2010 11:14 am
It's very bad, indeed. Trouble, big trouble, is on the horizon.
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Memory_Hole February 8th, 2010 10:26 am
Well put. But new life will come from rot and decay. Eventually corrupt systems disintegrate, and are replaced by something better; and this is something to hope for. It is time for us to start imagining what replaces "the system."
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:59 pm
Sioux Rose

MEMORY: Excellent post!

Some young women fear child birth, and some die during its course. Others imagine what it will be like to hold a brand new baby (fresh from the heavens) in their arms. If we focus on the fire as opposed to the Phoenix, we may shortcircuit our own roles as potential mid-wives to this huge, inevitable process, or Transition, that is already in beginning stages. Labor, anyone?
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DCH February 8th, 2010 11:21 am
Not necessarily.

The Weimar Republic was replaced with NAZI's in post WWI Germany.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 3:03 pm
Sioux Rose

DCH: And now it is one of the more enlightened nations, having learned from the scars of war! When I spent time in Nepal at a Buddhist monastery with 80 people from around the world studying meditation, it was a young German guy (who I affectionately nick-named Copernicus) who impressed me more than anyone else in the group. There were times when we were privileged to put questions to the high monks via translators. His were so profound, and evidenced a universal consciousness. That type of mind no longer sees the nation-state as the be-all, end-all, but rather utilizes its unique cultural identity to lend its efforts to improving the world for ALL. What a great mind that young man from Germany had. And I'd like to think there were many others like him. To me, he was an ambassador of the ad hoc sort.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:44 pm
"And now it is one of the more enlightened nations, having learned from the scars of war!"

That is the problem in a nutshell. The U.S. has never since the civil war suffered massive war destruction, comparable to Europe after WWII. That kind of destruction does tend to turn one against war as a solution for anything.
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km0591 February 8th, 2010 10:52 am
Thanks. I would certainly hope that something better comes into being.

I find it hard to be hopeful on that though, since societies in decline and disintegration are usually obsessed with the security to obtain increasingly scarce and unpredictable resources as well as personal and collective security.

These fears and obsessions stifle the creativity that could create a more functional order. Instead, they foster individual and collective authoritarian impulses that seek to somehow bring order and predictability to the progressive instability and insecurity that these situations present. Think France after the fall of the Ancien Régime, Kerensky Russia, or Weimar Germany...

Sorry for the pessimism.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 3:13 pm
Sioux Rose

KM: I read somewhere that about one-third of the world's people believe in reincarnation. If you can entertain that possibility, then tragic as it may be, it's clear that a lot of people are checking out. Some may have agreed, on higher planes prior to this lifetime's inception, to be martyrs, those that risked being taken by the dark acts of war, so that humanity would (through the witness of their suffering) at last learn to place war outside its lexicon entirely. The tsunami that struck Thailand several years ago took 250,000 in a relative blink of an eye, then the quake in Pakistan took 65,000 (or a figure in that ballpark), added to this recent horrific event in Haiti, taking 200,000. And then there are the nebulous statistics of losses from America's "war against terror," while playing the lead role AS terrorist.

We know the planet cannot maintain the high numbers given the present species of consumption, a pattern being marketed worldwide. Whilst the rich nations and their wealthiest elites are the greatest offenders on the scale of ecological damage, even poor persons deplete their forests and lose the top soil necessary for viable agriculture.

Please do not take this post to suggest that I condone these losses. Rather, due to their awful pain and often equal basis in folly, I seek a higher understanding of why so much pain and loss of life (even throughout entire ecosystems) is so rabidly underway.

50 years from now our planet may have a reduced population, and I believe, far saner just systems of global governance, not of the authoritarian type, but those that truly gather the regions' leaders together to make decisions based on genuine consensus. It reminds me of the design related by Ken Keyes in "Return of the Bird Tribes." I like to think of earth as a time-share vacation plan, and knowing I will come back, I try to keep my little area in good shape. Perhaps others might do likewise if they understood they will return. Immortality alters the way we look at the potentials of our kind suspended in a journey based on a life to life continuum.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:42 pm
"50 years from now our planet may have a reduced population"

My fear and speculation is that the planet's population will be greatly reduced and living on a still smoking and irradiating cinder. No weapon has ever been invented that has not been used full-on in warfare. Of course, perhaps, a real nuclear disarmament will transpire, but I find that highly unlikely. I hope for future generations' sake I'm wrong.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 4:04 pm
Sioux Rose

KENT: Have you ever heard of Pat Rodegast who channeled two books, Emmanuel I and Emmanuel II? I had the privilege of sitting in on a session in New Paltz, New York maybe 15 years ago. The majority of attendants were psychologists and professionals in the healing fields. We were all asked to place a question on a tiny piece of paper and drop it into a hat. Then the channel's assistant would read the question, and Pat, opening herself to this discarnate source of wisdom would speak, and answer it. Someone in the group mentioned a nuclear-based WWIII; and while the answer given some time ago may no longer apply (?), it was, "Divine Intervention will not allow it."

Science can deliver many things, and yet there are many things it cannot answer. Religion, too cloaked in authoritarian creeds, misses the boat on many spiritual things. In my view, the mystic stands at the gap between the two. I truly believe in a Divine Order, and I see its evidence everywhere in nature, though less so with human beings who, in utilizing their gift of free will, create such dasdardly things for one another to cope with. (And many wonders, too!) You've probably heard my often long explanations that equate society's exaltation of Mars (unconscious, of course) with so much war, violence, YOY policies, and an utter breakdown of society, with true love quite rare in this world.

I hope Emmanuel's response is still viable; for if not, what you describe as the dead burning crisp of a once placental, green paradise... would not be fit for any life forms but the insects that possibly learned their blood-sucking ways in a previous phase when human beings again chose weapons/arms over joining hands. And the meek inherited the earth.
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FrankS February 8th, 2010 10:23 am
I fully agree - at age 66, I've seen enough of the dynamic you describe to know you've hit the nail on the head!
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text size: E-mail Print ShareClose Twitter StumbleUpon Facebook Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo TechnoratiDiscuss Published on Monday, February 8, 2010 by TruthDig.com
The Terror-Industrial Complex
by Chris Hedges

The conviction of the Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui in New York last week of trying to kill American military officers and FBI agents illustrates that the greatest danger to our security does not come from al-Qaida but the thousands of shadowy mercenaries, kidnappers, killers and torturers our government employs around the globe.

The bizarre story surrounding Siddiqui, 37, who received an undergraduate degree from MIT and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University, often defies belief. Siddiqui, who could spend 50 years in prison on seven charges when she is sentenced in May, was by her own account abducted in 2003 from her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, with her three children—two of whom remain missing—and spirited to a secret U.S. prison where she was allegedly tortured and mistreated for five years. The American government has no comment, either about the alleged clandestine detention or the missing children.

Siddiqui was discovered in 2008 disoriented and apparently aggressive and hostile, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with her oldest son. She allegedly was carrying plans to make explosives, lists of New York landmarks and notes referring to “mass-casualty attacks.” But despite these claims the government prosecutors chose not to charge her with terrorism or links to al-Qaida—the reason for her original appearance on the FBI’s most-wanted list six years ago. Her supporters suggest that the papers she allegedly had in her possession when she was found in Afghanistan, rather than detail coherent plans for terrorist attacks, expose her severe mental deterioration, perhaps the result of years of imprisonment and abuse. This argument was bolstered by some of the pages of the documents shown briefly to the court, including a crude sketch of a gun that was described as a “match gun” that operates by lighting a match.

“Justice was not served,” Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network and the spokesperson for Aafia Siddiqui’s family, told me. “The U.S. government made a decision to label this woman a terrorist, but instead of putting her on trial for the alleged terrorist activity she was put on trial for something else. They tried to convict her of that something else, not with evidence, but because she was a terrorist. She was selectively prosecuted for something that would allow them to only tell their side of the story.”

The government built its entire case instead around disputed events in the 300-square-foot room of the Ghazni police station. It insisted that on July 18, 2008, the diminutive Siddiqui, who had been arrested by local Afghan police the day before, seized an M4 assault rifle that was left unattended and fired at American military and FBI agents. None of the Americans were injured. Siddiqui, however, was gravely wounded, shot twice in the stomach.

No one, other than Siddiqui, has attempted to explain where she was for five years after she vanished in 2003. No one seems to be able to explain why a disoriented Pakistani woman and her son, an American citizen, neither of whom spoke Dari, were discovered by local residents wandering in a public square in Ghazni, where an eyewitness told Harpers Magazine the distraught Siddiqui “was attacking everyone who got close to her.” Had Siddiqui, after years of imprisonment and torture, perhaps been at the U.S. detention center in Bagram and then dumped with one of her three children in Ghazi? And where are the other two children, one of whom also is an American citizen?

Her arrest in Ghazi saw, according to the official complaint, a U.S. Army captain and a warrant officer, two FBI agents and two military interpreters arrive to question Siddiqui at the police headquarters. The Americans and their interpreters were shown to a meeting room that was partitioned by a yellow curtain. “None of the United States personnel were aware,” the complaint states, “that Siddiqui was being held, unsecured, behind the curtain.” The group sat down to talk and “the Warrant Officer placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor to his right next to the curtain, near his right foot.” Siddiqui allegedly reached from behind the curtain and pulled the three-foot rifle to her side. She unlatched the safety. She pulled the curtain “slightly back” and pointed the gun directly at the head of the captain. One of the interpreters saw her. He lunged for the gun. Siddiqui shouted, “Get the fuck out of here!” and fired twice. She hit no one. As the interpreter wrestled her to the ground, the warrant officer drew his sidearm and fired “approximately two rounds” into Siddiqui’s abdomen. She collapsed, still struggling, and then fell unconscious.

But in an article written by Petra Bartosiewicz in the November 2009 Harper’s Magazine, authorities in Afghanistan described a series of events at odds with the official version. The governor of Ghazni province, Usman Usmani, told a local reporter who was hired by Bartosiewicz that the U.S. team had “demanded to take over custody” of Siddiqui. The governor refused. He could not release Siddiqui, he explained, until officials from the counterterrorism department in Kabul arrived to investigate. He proposed a compromise: The U.S. team could interview Siddiqui, but she would remain at the station. In a Reuters interview, however, a “senior Ghazni police officer” suggested that the compromise did not hold. The U.S. team arrived at the police station, he said, and demanded custody of Siddiqui. The Afghan officers refused, and the U.S. team proceeded to disarm them. Then, for reasons unexplained, Siddiqui herself somehow entered the scene. The U.S. team, “thinking that she had explosives and would attack them as a suicide bomber, shot her and took her.”

Siddiqui told a delegation of Pakistani senators who went to Texas to visit her in prison a few months after her arrest that she never touched anyone’s gun, nor did she shout at anyone or make any threats. She simply stood up to see who was on the other side of the curtain and startled the soldiers. One of them shouted, “She is loose,” and then someone shot her. When she regained consciousness she heard someone else say, “We could lose our jobs.”

Siddiqui’s defense team pointed out that there was an absence of bullets, casings or residue from the M4, all of which suggested it had not been fired. They played a video to show that two holes in a wall supposedly caused by the M4 had been there before July 18. They also highlighted inconsistencies in the testimony from the nine government witnesses, who at times gave conflicting accounts of how many people were in the room, where they were sitting or standing and how many shots were fired.

Siddiqui, who took the stand during the trial against the advice of her defense team, called the report that she had fired the unattended M4 assault rifle at the Americans “the biggest lie.” She said she had been trying to flee the police station because she feared being tortured. Siddiqui, whose mental stability often appeared to be in question during the trial, was ejected several times from the Manhattan courtroom for erratic behavior and outbursts.

“It is difficult to get a fair trial in this country if the government wants to accuse you of terrorism,” said Foster. “It is difficult to get a fair trial on any types of charges. The government is allowed to tell the jury you are a terrorist before you have to put on any evidence. The fear factor that has emerged since 9/11 has permeated into the U.S. court system in a profoundly disturbing way. It embraces the idea that we can compromise core principles, for example the presumption of innocence, based on perceived threats that may or may not come to light. We, as a society, have chosen to cave on fear.”

I spent more than a year covering al-Qaida for The New York Times in Europe and the Middle East. The threat posed by Islamic extremists, while real, is also wildly overblown, used to foster a climate of fear and political passivity, as well as pump billions of dollars into the hands of the military, private contractors, intelligence agencies and repressive client governments including that of Pakistan. The leader of one FBI counterterrorism squad told The New York Times that of the 5,500 terrorism-related leads its 21 agents had pursued over the past five years, just 5 percent were credible and not one had foiled an actual terrorist plot. These statistics strike me as emblematic of the entire war on terror.

Terrorism, however, is a very good business. The number of extremists who are planning to carry out terrorist attacks is minuscule, but there are vast departments and legions of ambitious intelligence and military officers who desperately need to strike a tangible blow against terrorism, real or imagined, to promote their careers as well as justify obscene expenditures and a flagrant abuse of power. All this will not make us safer. It will not protect us from terrorist strikes. The more we dispatch brutal forms of power to the Islamic world the more enraged Muslims and terrorists we propel into the ranks of those who oppose us. The same perverted logic saw the Argentine military, when I lived in Buenos Aires, “disappear” 30,000 of the nation’s citizens, the vast majority of whom were innocent. Such logic also fed the drive to root out terrorists in El Salvador, where, when I arrived in 1983, the death squads were killing between 800 and 1,000 people a month. Once you build secret archipelagos of prisons, once you commit huge sums of money and invest your political capital in a ruthless war against subversion, once you empower a network of clandestine killers, operatives and torturers, you fuel the very insecurity and violence you seek to contain.

I do not know whether Siddiqui is innocent or guilty. But I do know that permitting jailers, spies, kidnappers and assassins to operate outside of the rule of law contaminates us with our own bile. Siddiqui is one victim. There are thousands more we do not see. These abuses, justified by the war on terror, have created a system of internal and external state terrorism that is far more dangerous to our security and democracy than the threat posed by Islamic radicals.

Copyright © 2010 Truthdig, L.L.C.
Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.


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OleManRiver February 9th, 2010 6:58 pm
Nanoo---

That's what happens when a female Muslim seeks to become highly educated instead of an "ignorant raghead."

Neuroscientist? What does she know they aren't telling us?

-30-
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Nanoo February 9th, 2010 7:31 am
Nanoo

This poor woman was convicted, amazingly without physical evidence. Perhaps the same powers who brought Aafia to this unjustified hell, applied some therapy to the jury as well.
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OleManRiver February 9th, 2010 5:33 am
Third skipnote, to Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:03 pm:

It's ProZac! Not Prosac.

But you are correct in seeking a clear language.

One of the things I like about Common Dreams is that we are permitted to be fallible even as we may be great.

There is a deep community here. Let us not blow it.

Why does the name Dalton Trumbo keep haunting my consciousness? I am not one for names.

-30-
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Old Peculiar February 9th, 2010 6:31 pm
He was a gifted, black-listed Hollywood writer during the dark days of HUAC.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0874308/bio
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OleManRiver February 9th, 2010 5:07 am
Another skip-note, this time to koalaburger (great handle by the way and I had noticed you earlier) who wrote above:

"A jury trial means being judged by people too dumb to get out of jury duty."

This is an old canard yet remains valid.

I quit my job and "retired" last year and actually I would be thrilled to be called for a jury trial in my small rural county. I am sure it would be educational.

I've lived all over this country and I've always been a registered voter and I've never been called for jury duty. The system seems rigged. I recall one county where the grand jury had the same guy in charge of it for decades. I knew him. He wasn't a bad guy and preferred working behind the scenes. He tended to egalitarianism but I remain certain that there are many others, similarly situated, who do not.

-30-
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OleManRiver February 9th, 2010 4:45 am
A skip-note to dubet of dubet February 8th, 2010 10:27 am---

Exactly so. Sometimes one needs to create the threat one is protecting the herd from. Bow wow. Arf arf.

The profits are wonderful. The hidden mansions are great.

-30-
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Arghangel February 9th, 2010 4:20 am
Those BLACKWATER LOWLIFES can get away 'Scot Free' for the Nisour Square Massacre but this HORRIBLY BRUTALIZED/VICTIMIZED Muslim woman will end up like Mumia Abu Jamal, rotting away for life on TRUMPED UP CHARGES designed to save face for THE NEANDERTHAL CONSTABULARY!!

SMASH THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE TERROR-INDUSTRIAL WELFARE COMPLEX!!
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mujeriego February 9th, 2010 2:44 am
He is my theory. The USA tortured, gang raped and murdered her missing children in front of her, and she snapped. Maybe John Yoo and Donald Rumsfield did their famous testicular tap dance on their little sacks until they died.

and we now know that it is OK for the US Government to murder its own citizens as long as they have crossed the border and are standing on "ferin soil"

I would not put any kind of sick depravity beyond the modern, evil USA Government. They make the "terrorists" look moral and moderate by comparison.
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Peterpeacenik February 9th, 2010 12:53 am
Bush = Obomber = #1 Terrorist in the whole World!
'Now supported by Jury Trial.' What a SuperPile, 1+1 =1
Only in Amerika
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nobodyknown February 8th, 2010 9:27 pm
Somewhere between the extremes, lies the truth.... I would hope that each and every American would try to recall what it was like as a teenager, being accused of an act that one did not commit. Different people certainly reacted differently, but at least one time I'm sure I reacted "well, IF I'm going to be accused of it, I may as well do it". We may very well be creating a national "self-fulfilled prophecy".
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EricGregory February 8th, 2010 10:40 pm
And honestly I think that very well may be the hidden goal of our entire strategy. Any idiot should be able to see that, after being held unjustly and tortured for years as many of these people are, the only logical thing to do is to blow yourself up and take as many of these torturous fucks as you can. Duh. People in the US think torture and genocide are just good fun, but in reality they provoke an all consuming persistant hatred for Americans. Can you blame them? Many Americans are so twisted around that they do, one more case of blaming the victim.

The logic of this is undeniable. Yeah, they hate us for our freedoms: freedom to imprison them, freedom to torture them, and freedom to kill them. Unfortunately, it is that hate that powers the engine, that stokes the fire and fuels the fear. Our foreign policy is about the promotion of future business, the business is war, and business is good.
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genie February 8th, 2010 8:33 pm
Preemptive arrests of Muslim men have been going on in America for years. If the government thinks that due to his political views a Muslim man, may some time in the future, become a terrorist, they charge him with bogus crimes based on circumstantial evidence. They smear him as a terrorist in the media, disallow him to defend himself against the smear of terrorism, and get him convicted by confusing and inflaming the jury. Most Americans would be afraid to go against their government and not convict these innocent Muslim men.

Humans beings have followed authority, good or evil, for centuries as if authority is divinely ordained.This is becoming a greater danger due to global overpopulation and higher technological advances juxtaposed with less conscientious concern for the common good and for future generations. " If we do nothing but complain about society's ills forgetting that we are society, from which corrupt and ignorant leaders obtain and retain their power, then society will destroy us and our children, by the power of our own Apathy." (Thomas Merton)
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Z1 February 9th, 2010 6:08 am
genie,
Sounds like the very point the Founding Fathers were trying to make in the Declaration of Independence
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Cayetana February 8th, 2010 8:20 pm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aafia_Siddiqui

At least you can see her picture.
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Bottle February 8th, 2010 8:07 pm
The credibility of author Chris Hedges, already good, is bolstered by his first-hand observations in Argentina and El Salvador. We really need, in this country, to make an effort not to be the most uneducable persons in this world, and to stop thinking that the truths and history of other places don't apply to us.

As far as the secrecy and mystery concerning this case, the government should come clean. In fact, it always should come clean AS A MATTER OF SENSIBLE POLICY. Don't want people speculating? COME CLEAN THEN-- SIMPLE AS THAT!
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ma77hew77 February 8th, 2010 8:02 pm
Thank you Chris Hedges for yet another amazing article!

Your work has always demanded attention,introspection and action.

What more could a seminary grad want as a reaction to their work.

I look forward to reading Empire of Illusions.

God Bless you sir!
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Shawn Berry. February 8th, 2010 7:22 pm
Why do some people have to blame America for everything? Pakistan is a military dictatorship where religion is used to control and abuse. The US needs to get the hell out of there so that Pakistanis can fight for their own democracy and the USA can stop being everyone's scapegoat.
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teddy February 8th, 2010 10:09 pm
Shawn Berry -- the fact that Pakistan or other countries are what they are - whether before or after foreign interferences - is a DISTINCT point from blaming america for what SHE DOES ..which includes meddling that excacerbates what are already imperfect situations elsewhere.

Pakistan was not even a country - just a region in Near Asia - until it was carved out from the result of divisions between the muslims and hindus after gandhi succeeded to first unite them all -- of INDO origin - against england.

whatever the results foreign meddling by england excacerbated what were civil wars or differences, leading to what you rail against :"Pakistan is a military dictatrship"

in which america embroiled itself to replace England as the new "foreign master".

if the tribes of an island fought amongst themselves ..they can be blamed solely if no foreign influence was involved.

people can say "'well they are fighting, blame that king, or that queen, or that bad person...but not the USA - it was never involved".

but SINCE the USA does involve itself globally - which results in strife and other problems LIKELY far greater than if it did NOT involve itself , which everyone knows is "for national interest" and has NOTHING to do with "democracy" or humaneness...but just AMERICAN POWER ...

then it is logical to say:

"america is to be blamed"....because its involvement is commensurate to its power which is commensurate to that power's involvement's CONSEQUENCES which also are as great and as dire according to the potency of that "great power's" involvement.

it is like the saying:

"when america sneezes the world gets a cold".

why is america "blamed for everything?"

it is because america has used its power IRRESPONSIBLY in its global involvement. rather than help nations to be prosperous in their own right an be fair..it has used its power and wealth to "permanently subjugate them to our will"....JOHN PERKINS, former CIA "economic hitman".

you want examples?

IRAN TODAY - consequence of the USA meddling in the affairs of nation that was the most democratic and most advanced in the middle east - and literally destroyed centuries of very careful, critical evolution to become a better place of great culture , politics, thought, philosophy, poetry, art, trade, language....literally the middle east's

CENTER of world trade - even formerly calling Tehran "THE PARIS of the Middle East".

now - see how Iran has become a "centerpiece" of "global concern" blared around by america.

WHO BROUGHT IT TO THAT? the USA.

we can go down a very very long list . and a year will go by with "complaints" and discussions that are not repetitive of the list of what america has done - and we will only have scratched the surface on the extent of what america REALLY has caused in so much strife, suffering, unnecessary quarrels and problems globally.

and that -- in ONLY 200 hundred years since it became capable of maritime force.

and remember -- even if you are talking about the "TROOPS over there" around the globe -- the "ARMED FORCES" of the USA are only the MILITARY expression of the more deeply insidious involvement of the USA globaly -- namely , its corporatist CAPITALIST imperial stretch.

even where there are NO troops or "military invasions" -- there are troop or RELATED entities of american presence to "spread the gospel" of capitalism...which has proven to be DESTRUCTIVE.

remember that the OPEN occupations of massed troops by america elsewere are only in places that are so threatening to american hegemony that it HAS to send them - openly ....

but THAT also is just the advanced phased of what John Perkins, Former CIA "economic hitman" described as the USA's imperial project - where the EARLIER phases are in effect everywhere - until they have a "need" for military action to impose that imperial project.
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aremagen February 8th, 2010 8:24 pm
Yes, Pakistan is a military dictatorship and the US knew and condoned the dictatorship before we made ourselves at home there. Where are you getting the "fight for their own democracy" statement from. They have democracy when the US, along with the Pakistani military, isn't trying to manipulate it.

We were not invited there. We have forced ourselves on them for what we perceive as geopolitical reasons.

We are not a benign scapegoat handing out candy to children. We are not a helping hand to the common citizens. We are killing their men, women and children because they won't do what we say. Therefore they are the enemy. That has been US policy world-wide since 1945. Have you been asleep for 65 years?

Keep reading Common Dreams, Counterpunch.com, Zmag.org, Informed Comment and they will bring you up to speed on the issues.
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Shawn Berry. February 8th, 2010 8:57 pm
I said for the US to get out of Pakistan so that they can fight it on their own. They need us and we don't need to throw them money or anything. Let them pick their own leaders and religion.
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teddy February 9th, 2010 10:48 am
Shawn Berry -- Aramagen and others and yourself are really ONE on our thoughts and hopes that America would change - and STOP being the bully and empire that it is.

but you are also forgetting that when you say america should just leave and let those people choose their way of life, just as no one in the world has ever dictated to america what to do with itself (unless you think about ISRAEL that is the tail that wags the dog) - that statement of yours contradicts FACTS.

"those people" elsewhere ALWAYS have had their ways of life- in fact, thousands of years of their own civilizations that point to the SAME hopes and needs and wants of any human society:

to have families, to honor their elders, to carry on what they learned and improved on, to have better futures, to eat properly, to work with honor, to share in their communities...just like ordinary americans ...

BUT america has gone "over there" to DISRUPT them - a mere 250 year old "nation" that thinks it has found the magic potion for civilization - and has demonstrated, right from the start , a COMPLETE absence of conscience and respect for other cultures -- starting with destroying the NATIVE INDIANS - to grab the land and impose its supposedly more "civilized" european view of the world....which - whether from spain or france or england or germany or italy , or now USA -

have NO rivals for brutality, callousness, insiduousness and hypocrisy COMING from such a SMALL region of the world -- the White Region of European "thought" of conquest and theft of lands and resources "over there" (as you would put it).

you say : "let those people choose" their leaders, their politics, their society...

well-- that IS what those people have been doing for thousands of years!

that IS what the Iranians were doing in the 1950's when they wanted to kick out the foreigners, be it russians or arabs or english or french or americans and their corporations trying to grab Iran's oil and gas and control her internal affairs..they CHOSE democracy - but the USA disliked IT because it was a SOCIALIST democracy that nationalised oil and gas and was going to put a stop to US and English Petroleum industries from continuing to divy up IRAN's NATIONAL TREASURES and leaving nothing for the iranians....

exactly as the usa has done globally in all forms.

move away from iran -- and turn to HAITI, to the Philippines, to Vietnam, to China, to dozens and dozens of countries...people WERE choosing their way of life ....

what DID the USA DO? interrupt and impose "our will and the will of our chamber of commerce to render them permanently subjugated" (John Perkins, former CIA "economic hitman") ...and "if that doesn't work...that's when we send in our Army...that's what you see in iraq"...

so -- why should you quarrel about the whys and wherewithals of the argument when you know as much as any that it is the PRESENCE of the USA in "those lands" that has , at best exaggerated their problems which they CAN figure out what to do as they always have, imperfect as it is, but at worst, the USA only WORSENS ...with nary an interest in the welfare of "those people" -- beginning with the most obvious sign of all:

UTTER COMPLETE lack of respect and even interest in the uniqueness of other cultures..and just sweeping them away as if they are dust so it can "re-organize" them according to its views which TURN OUT to be SO DISASTROUS and PRIMITIVE and BARBARIC and UNcivilized - after all!

and you know what that is in simple , old terms?

we all know it , it is called PILLAGE and RAPE and THEFT.
so -- you can not possibly - any american really, can not possibly be in the RIGHT to quibble about "why is everyone blaming america?"

the answer is :

Because AMERICA deserves the blame, it EARNED it.

we starte from the NAtive Indians who never did anything bad TO EUROPE. but tried to stand their ground for THEIR way of life and THEIR native land...

and here we are:

as Even Senator Ron Paul among others with similar statements have said :

"why are they against us? why are they HERE to attack us? why do they HATE US? it is because we ARE THERE".
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gdgoodman February 9th, 2010 8:32 pm
If you read the Paki papers a little, you get a sense that the military are finally losing part of their iron control, at least going by the bluntness of the editorials. The military originally grabbed power in a coup supposedly SPONSORED (again dammit) by the United States. So we are DIRECTLY responsible for the fragileness of the democracy that is taking hold there. We have also funneled hundreds of millions to the military even when they were in total control.

So it is a large part our mess. But drone strikes are NOT the way to go; neither are American troops (we have special ops in Pakistan). We need to, as the Kerry-Lugar bill at least partially does, funnel aid to the people, not just the military, of Pakistan. And stay the hell out of their politics.

Gary

“Suddenly it looks like the policy is not tough diplomacy, but the path to war.”
-- Jon Alterman
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aremagen February 8th, 2010 9:27 pm
Even the US can't "pick" their religion although we would do anything for that ability.

They do pick their own leaders as long as they pass through the US "filter".

Any fighting that Pakistan/US is doing in Pakistan is at the demand of the US. So actually they don't need us. We need their help and that's why we "throw them money". If we were not in their country for reasons that benefit mostly the US oil companies there would be no fighting. Pakistan liked things exactly the way they were before 9/11.
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 7:35 pm
Yep
Agreed
Let em duke it out.....
We got enough troubles right here in the U S and A to deal with.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 7:05 pm
(Ah ha. So this is where everybody was lurking.)

This case is simply horrendous -- I don't have the skill of wordcraft to express any more eloquently than this travesty of "justice" really sucks the big one. It's inexcusable that such an obviously trumped up case should even go to trial in the first place. And then they found 12 abject cowards to convince this poor, bewildered woman?

I wish, like SR points out maybe a third of Earth's population does, I could believe in reincarnation but I have trouble with all those "extra" souls needed to fill bodies being produced at nearly 20 per thousand every year. Then karma would make at least some sense. But I cannot accept it, I feel this is our ONE chance to get it right, and believing otherwise is the height of wishful thinking.

Still, it WOULD be nice if the bad karma potentially generated by this case COULD translate into increased toil and trouble in a future life for the lying agents, the judge, and yes even the jury. But I don't see the universe working that fairly.

Free will means we are on our own -- our fate in our grubby little hands -- and human stupidity means the odds are stacked against us.

Gary

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
-- Plato
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txbodhi February 8th, 2010 10:28 pm
Eastern religions teach that animals can be reborn as humans, beings from other worlds in the physical Universe can be reborn as humans and beings from higher levels of existence can be reborn as humans. There is no shortage of beings for available human lives. Though a difficult school of life our world holds unique spiritual potential for enlightenment. There are those who fail out of this school of life of course. Those who torture and unjustly imprison people will have that done to them in future lives.
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teddy February 9th, 2010 11:05 am
there is that commonality in eastern thought. you are right. I am from the philippines and although raised in a "western" religion of catholicism.. i can understand and am aware of what else was there in "eastern" thought -- which points to the idea of honoring one's ancestors , or "spirits" , or the inanimate world. at least that's a general sense underlying eastern thought.

it is probably expressed differently through the different religious tenets such as Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism...shamanism..etc.

but perhaps buddhists express it most elegantly:

the power of karma...or the idea of constant "rebirth"...

but with the idea that one is reborn - for as long as is needed, UNTIL one "learns" to do the "right" thing - which is to have compassion for all living things and creation and to realize that one is only a small part of the whole.

until one arrives at that -- to emerge from the "circle of suffering" which is the 'rebirth' cycle - then one will not achieve "nirvana" or enlightenment...which supposedly is the removal of all "desire" -- taught as the root of all suffering.

contrasted to that philosophy -- western thought INDEED looks VERY , VERY primitive. of course FEW easterners actually are able to achieve what that "might be"...as few humans probably can since - apparently - its discipline and demands are so beyond the capacities of most of us.

but -- it doesn't negate the fact that IT IS part of eastern thought ...which is completely absent from western thought which itself is completely wrapped around "possessing"...

even "salvation" in the western christian thinking is a form of "possessing" -- possessing "heaven, salvation, one-ness with god" as a form of perfecting the earthbound ideas of "welfare" and "achievement".

such as in :

have a house on earth -- wait til you get to heaven...you'll have a palace.

buddhism simply sweeps away that very notion.

there was a buddhist monk that explained "life" or reality or our existence in the world this way:

that "the individual's life is like that of a molecule or part in the water of a great river...it is one with the great river....but has not yet become an individual...when the river falls over a cliff and becomes a waterfall..you see the droplets separate...and that is the individual...our life is that time of the waterfall....when the water has reached the bottom of the cliff -- it is one again..and the droplets return to the great river".

it is one of the most beatifual imageries of existence.
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Alcyon February 9th, 2010 11:45 pm
teddy, first of all, I salute you for keeping an open mind towards other religions despite having been "raised in a "western" religion of catholicism" :)

I sometimes wonder if this absence of the concept of karma is what has enabled an "extra" level of brutality that would be required during imperial conquests. If you notice, most kingdoms and empires in the east have been somewhat of limited size, and not constantly prone to expanding. China has been a big empire for a long time - but I'm somewhat ambivalent about what motivated this empire to grow. Perhpas it was partly out of necessity for security and stability, and having achieved a certain level of security, they stopped expanding further. India itself has never been under one empire, except for short periods of time - once during emperor Ashoka's time and later on under the Mughals, and even then, there were several large parts of India that were not part of these empires. The reason I mention this, is that it seems to me that the concept of karma seems to put a check on kings and emperors from ruthlessly expanding their empires. The absence of this concept, or the "guarantee" of salvation by accepting the One True God, or a combination, seems to permit an extra level of brutality that would seem part of most imperial ventures.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 1:44 pm
Sioux Rose

TEDDY: Great post, as was your explanation above, as to why the US militaristic footprint upon other lands is HARDLY amenable with the claim of bringing freedom and democracy to those societies invaded. Nice work. Your compassion is always in evidence, you're an older soul who understands much.

TXBODHI: Great post!
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Kent Shaw February 9th, 2010 1:14 am
"Though a difficult school of life our world holds unique spiritual potential for enlightenment."

Maybe we're in a kindergarten where the most important lesson is "don't be an asshole". Others would equate that to the golden rule.
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 8:02 pm
Jesus was maybe all about re incarnation as well.
Where was He from 18 to 30 anyway?
Why is it so hard to find information about his lost years?
Who was he studying with?
What secrets did the old men cut out of the books at the Council of Nicea in 325AD?
As a Christian I want to know!
What's being hidden from me?
Would it be too much to handle?
Would it collapse the almighty stock markets?
Would people stop going to work?
What's being hidden from the world while these puppetmasters keep us all fighting down here in the pit?
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old goat February 8th, 2010 11:19 pm
Elfin

A book you might enjoy is "The Jesus Sutras" by Marin Palmer
Xian province in China?
its interesting to think in terms of epochs

Buddah, Lao Tzu, Christ, Mohammed, and heaven knows how many others unnamed appeared within a realtively short period with millennial effect.

The same with thinking about how the rainforests were 'thought of' as being 'uninhabited' when in fact they have been the result of human activity for millennia.
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teddy February 9th, 2010 11:26 am
i have read over the years some arguments that those "lost years" where when jesus actually traveled EAST - - as some have said above, even as far away as persia, china...who really knows?

some have said that jesus actually just learned things from philosophies of the east that were already in practice and reconstituted them for his own preaching, claiming whatever he claimed as "divinity".

people can remember that it is around that time that Buddhism also was ascendant in india.

for that matter...it is part of Indian history of which they are proud, at least of their ancient history...that a great king or emperor long ago - around just before the time of Jesus ..and when buddhism had been "discovered"...had turned away from his being emperor -

that this Ashoka - one of their greatest warriors and emperors - had inherited the first unification of india from among its disparate tribes - from his father who was revered.

but that this ashoka grew to become a fierce warrior with such cruelty and bloodlust that he loved conquering the different provinces (states they are called today in modern india) -- to keep enlarging his empire.

but then in the middle of his most powerful years - after yet another bloodthirsty conquest (he was infamous for lining up conquered warriors and people on the fields and have their heads cut off and then placed on spikes) - he had an almost sudden turn of mind...he realized that all his conquests and acquisitions left him completely empty...
and he began to question things...and he heard about some "preacher" somewhere (this is purportedly the "gautama buddha") ....

and went on a journey to find out and listen ....then he started to gravitate towards that "teaching"......

until one day - he decided to travel around the country , be among the people, and ask them "how do you want to live? how do you want to be ruled"?

and invariably the answer was that people just wanted to live with just modest needs and without fear and to have decent lives.

so he began to make edicts and proclamations - using the "suggestions" of the people everywhere....and had written in stone pillars that still exist today everywhere in india ...what amounted to india's first "constitution" which declared the freedoms of people ..and he began to use the vast wealth of his empire and treasury to "correct" the sins he had committed against people..to improve their towns, their roads, their houses, their trades...etc...

one of the things he did was - as a result of his hearing the teachings of "the buddha" - to ensure that the spot where people claimed the buddha sat under a tree to preach - was to be preserved..and it is still that place today somewhere in india.

EVEN including what indians today say is probably the original "official source" of their well-known "respect" for all animate beings - what amounts to today's "ANIMAL RIGHTS"...

because he extended his concerns to such an extent that it was not only limited to PEOPLE but also to other living beings...but he backed it up by encouraging education and understanding for animals and the natural world.

but he was still not "fulfilled" despite all that - because the weight of his guilt at all his crimes against people in his conquests was so heavy -- that he eventually abdicated and left his throne - to follow the ascetic life and became a hermit in a cave where he died...still looking for "forgiveness" or "nirvana"
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 8:55 pm
Sioux Rose

ARCHER: Are you a Sagittarius? Glad someone else in this forum is hip to the Council of Nicaea. That's when all references to reincarnation were expunged from the Bible... except for one: when Jesus said, "I came before but you knew me not."

"Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation" by Ian Stevenson is the master work, and fits all the scientific methodologies so loved by academe. What it reveals is tough to dismiss. It's written for skeptics, and those who love details!
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 11:12 pm
Thanks for the book tip Rose, I'll check it out.
I'm a Cancer actually, brought up Catholic and reciting the Nicene Creed every Sunday.
After so long I stopped taking for granted the words that were rolling off my tongue without thinking and became interested in the Apocrypha.
Don't ask the priest or lay ministers about that stuff though. No no no.

Reading books like Fr. Malachi Martins "Hostage to the Devil" and hearing sooo many interviews with people who knew details from the past that they couldn't have possibly have known got me down a path that I hope doesn't refute my religion, but build upon it.
I believe modern science & physics is zeoring in on the truths and someday may be able to quantify them.
Surely, a million Hindu's and Buddhists can't all be wrong?
There has to be more to it than I've been told and it's within my intelligence and energies to search out the real deal.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 1:56 pm
Sioux Rose

ELFIN: I asked about the Sag-reference due to your use of the word "archer." Sagittarius is the archer who aims his arrow towards the target. In metaphor, it represents the power of intention, holding ones thoughts firm as they aim at the target, i.e. the outcome desired.

Jupiter, which rules Sagittarius, is exalted in Cancer. My family's estate lawyer had photos on her office wall where she was in rider's clothing mounting her horse. I asked if she was a Sag, and she, too, is a Cancer. Again, it's due to the Jupiter association. I dated a guy whose daughter (a Cancer) also was an expert rider, and know of another young Cancer female who was described to me as a "horse woman." I point this out because astrology works like a Kaleidescope. The many facets create a unique design, and the sun sign designation only reflects a portion of it.

I was not raised as a Catholic, so I had no exposure to the Nicene creed. I have read much on the life and teachings of Edgar Cayce, and one book, "Cayce's Story of Karma and Reincarnation," speaks about the Council of Nicaea and how at that time the church elites made the very political decision to expunge all references TO reincarnation from the available texts of the Bible. The Vatican has quite an occult library, but wants this info to remain taboo. Interesting. There is power that comes from a higher understanding, and it is precisely THAT power which the old elites, a marriage of church and state entities, STILL wish to keep in the dark. The occult is not a reflection of the dark side, but rather, what is retained in secrecy... and exists only for those with eyes capable of seeing. Of course, some will abuse this power, for like any resource, the thing itself (even money) may be neutral... until such time as the species of human motive is applied.

Nice chatting.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 7:15 pm
Sioux Rose

GARY: Many moons ago I attended a lecture on prosperity. Since I believe I've lived Native American previous lifetimes, I operate from an innate sense of conservation. I do not like waste--not in food, running water, excess use of fuels, or the way too many Americans TOSS things into the trash. When I posed a question to the speaker as to why people should seek out more than they need he answered that there were countless leaves on the trees, and one could not count the countless grains of sand at the beach. That ours was a planet of abundance.

I still live a very conservative (in terms of resources) lifestyle, and yet I do understand his premise for prosperity. I share this with you as numbers can be very telling and also very confusing. How can you be so sure that all souls who have lived across time are not all gathered here for this big, long-time predicted event? Can you be certain that intelligent life residing in other spheres has not lent some of its more patient, enlightened beings to this earth experience to help out at this transition juncture?

Numbers, or a perceived count, should never lock one into a presumption of finitude.

One of my favorite life memories (I shared this once before in the forum) was a night during my college days when perhaps 25 people were sitting in a circle in someone's dorm. There were lots of joints circulating and the subject we began to debate was that of INFINITY. The natural mystics understood that the concept itself precludes measurement, but the more science-oriented materialists were CERTAIN that with the RIGHT INSTRUMENTS infinity could be measured. Gary, your post makes me think you'd have been among that portion of the circle.
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Sanctuary February 9th, 2010 1:45 am
Siouxrose, of course infinity can be measured. It is infinitely long and infinitely wide and infinite in infinite dimensions. Sorry, I couldn't resist that.

As an aside I used to have horrible nightmares over the concept of infinity as a child because I couldn't understand it. As it came up frequently in math at school in my teens, I felt that I was incredibly dense and that everyone else except me could understand it and that I alone was missing something important in my brain structure. I live in a very visual world and I am also horizontal thinker, you see. There is enormous cognitive dissonance between those two. The concept of infinity was and is overwhelming.

Much later I realised that people just used it mechanically without giving it any thought -they just accepted that it behaved in a convenient predictable manner, much like a catalyst, when referenced in algorithms.

Back to the topic above. Does everything go in infinite pendulums and circles?
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:04 pm
Sioux Rose

SANCTUARY: In all humility, I must leave your closing sentence for the physicists. I do not have the answer. Infinity is intriguing, and meant to be. What would the experience of life in a (human) body be without questions to resolve, mysteries to explore? When I was a child I used to bike to other towns. One time my famiiy called the police because I was about 8 and gone all day. I rode my bike 3 towns away. I've always had a thing for adventure, and learning constitutes the great adventure. If we had all the answers, we would need to be embodied.

I love the metaphor of the circle. Everything comes full circle in so many ways, and the circle truly has neither beginning nor end. It is the shape of a nest, and a woman's breast, the orbital path of things as tiny as electrons to as great as entire solar systems. We are a society that's been bred to relate to linear constructs with the great heavenly circle consigned to a great taboo. I have made it my life mission to change that... for the sake of tomorrow's children. The circle has NO sides, and is an exquisite peace model... one that invites all tribes to the proverbial decision-making table. I elaborated on this theme at length in my children's book: Cassandra's Tale.
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Sanctuary February 9th, 2010 8:28 pm
Sioux Rose, thanks. Your comments are always valuable reading.

If everyone travelled at a relatively early age before the formative processes perhaps became set, minds would be widened and there would be far greater understanding and genuine humility.
The world would be a far better place.

Ha! There's no hope for me though -I'm Aries.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 8:51 pm
SR, I would LOVE to be wrong about all this. But I see _no_ real evidence of divine intervention, nor that of enlightened souls from somewhere beyond our own world. I have to go with what my poor eyes can see and my limited mind (and perhaps soul) can comprehend. It all still smacks of wishful thinking. A little too good to be true. Just as your figuring on past souls supplying new bodies ignores that the vast percentage of human lives across time exist today.

But I respect your right to your opinion and I am very happy it brings you comfort and insight. Wish I had something that could raise me above the mud. But I see the world rolling around in the gutter with but ourselves capable of getting out of that gutter. I cannot await help from beyond.

Peace and good karma to you.

Gary

"Contrary to popular misconception, karma has nothing to do with punishment and reward. It exists as part of our holographic universe's binary or dualistic operating system only to teach us responsibility for our creations -— and all things we experience are our creations."
-- Sol Luckman
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 9:00 pm
Sioux Rose

GARY: I don't find the quote by Luckman and the way karma operates as being mutually exclusive. And if you ever want to open your mind to how Divine intervention works (worked for me when I flipped a rental car with faulty steering as I was traveling at 79 MPH on I-95 heading to Miami and almost walked away from a complete crash, car flip, etc), a remarkable series written by a team of British researchers makes for compelling reading: The Wisdom and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, by Baird Spalding. I think Speilberg read it, or portions, before he filmed "Raiders of the Lost Arc." It's out of print, but sometimes can be found through Amazon or a book dealer.
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gdgoodman February 9th, 2010 8:48 pm
I HAVE studied Eastern philosophies -- especially Buddhism -- but would love to read that book but I'm on a limited income so unless the book is in the state library system (of KY?) I cannot afford to buy it. Ditto most of the interesting books mentioned by others here on CD.

BTW I was aware of the idea that animals can become human souls but that one really bothers me -- why would a perfectly good animal soul WANT to be human?

Reincarnation has some very interesting evidence for it -- I was aware of that -- but I suspect it is rather rare, not universal. But that is just my personal take on the matter.

As always SR, a very interesting discussion. Thank you.

Gary

"You must acknowledge and experience this part of the universe. Karma is intricate, too vast. You would, with your limited human senses, consider it too unfair. But you have tools to really, truly love. Loving the children is very important. But love everyone as you would love your children."
-- Kuan Yin
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Poet February 8th, 2010 5:03 pm
"Siddiqui, 37, who received an undergraduate degree from MIT and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University,..."

********

Was she doing contract work for the Pentagon or the CIA as a very smart person who had an advanced degree in neuroscinece?

"Siddiqui,...was by her own account abducted in 2003 from her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, with her three children—two of whom remain missing—and spirited to a secret U.S. prison?"

************

What did she suppossedly know that her captors wanted to learn so badly that they were willing to torture her for 5 years?

*************

"Siddiqui was discovered in 2008 disoriented and apparently aggressive and hostile, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with her oldest son. She allegedly was carrying plans to make explosives, lists of New York landmarks and notes referring to “mass-casualty attacks.” But despite these claims the government prosecutors chose not to charge her with terrorism or links to al-Qaida—the reason for her original appearance on the FBI’s most-wanted list six years ago."

**************

As I ponder these passages in Hedges article, it sounds more and more like elements of Lee Harvey Oswald (a highly intelligent suppossedly radicalized individual),

James Earl Ray (who was extradicted on some comparitivly minor charge from England in order to take the fall for the assassination of MLK Jr. for which he was never tried in court because he copped a guilty plea on very bad advice from his legal counsel)

and Sirhan Sirhan (the suppossed assassin of RFK who couldn't shoot straight, had a gun with the wrong caliber bullets than those that killed RFK, and could not remember anything about the whole affair--including the incoherant scribblings in notebooks in his own hand that were found in his living spece--despite repeated attempts through hypnosis to help him to do so)

*******************

Could Siddiqui be an MK Ultra subject whose mission designed by her handlers is to have her give her life in order to further their contrived "war on terror"? Of course I don't know for sure but the whole episode has the familiar and rotten stink of CIA mind control all over it.

Poet
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metal February 8th, 2010 7:23 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

She had too much expert scientific knowledge in such a specific brain-related field--very expensive and time consuming training to be so readily expendable--UNLESS they brought her in with her expertise in neuro-science thinking that with her Pakistani language and cultural skills she might be of special use in helping to develop some new ultra-torture method or torture technology for use on the Pakistani Taliban. Then when she saw what they wanted her to do she freaked out, they realized she was probably going to whistleblow to the government or someone in the press who might actually listen. Or maybe she tried to whistleblow internally and was targeted for retaliation by higher-ups. So they psy-oped her until she was extremely mentally unbalanced and terrified, did God knows what to her other children, and plopped her down in an alien city for the OTHER half of the torture/"military justice" equation to use her for her propaganda value.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 8:50 pm
Sioux Rose

METAL: It's like a built-in fail-safe, in that those who know too much can be taken, accused, tortured, and then once their minds are bent, the common perception is that their testimony is too whacked out to be taken seriously. What a defense! Kafka meets "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," with a touch of "Blue Sky" thrown in.
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metal February 8th, 2010 11:42 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

Hi Sioux Rose,

I'm not familiar with your reference re: "Blue Sky." Is that from a novel or a movie?
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Kay Johnson February 9th, 2010 12:03 pm
Blue Sky stars Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones, and was released in 1995. Ms. Lange won an Academy Award for her performance.

I agree with Sioux Rose's analogy, with the films/books she listed.

Last week, I watched the 1962 Orson Welles film, The Trial, starring Tony Perkins and Jeanne Moreau, the great French actress, based on the Franz Kafka novel, with the screenplay written by Mr. Welles. It is frightening, and more relevant today than when it was made.

In reference to one of your other posts: Your comments reminded me of the German citizen, Khaled al Masri, who was kidnapped by the C.I.A. (December 31, 2003)and tortured, then finally dumped somewhere in Albania in May, 2004. The C.I.A. already knew they had the WRONG man, but continued for a time to detain and torture him. When I went to hear Jane Mayer speak about her book, The Dark Side, she talked about interviewing Mr. al Masri, and that he broke down and cried as he told her his story.

Your perceptions about Siddiqui could be correct! Your outline of events certainly follows other very similar stories that we already know.

Today, Amy Goodman interviewed Eamon Javers whose new book was just published -- Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy -- with additional proof of government and corporations in cahoots with each other.

If you are interested, or if you haven't already watched it, you can go to:

www.democracynow.org
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:14 pm
Sioux

KAY: You're always so well-informed! Thanks for the post!
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 7:43 pm
Excellent hypothesis.
Nothing is too far out these days.
I often wonder how far down the rabbit hole these experts in cutting edge science go before they don't like what they're seeing.
I put her case in with the mysterious deaths of prominent microbiologists the past few years.
And I am mystified how Sibel Edmonds is still free.
Surely they could have trumped up charges on her to clam her up.
Nothing can be allowed to affect the agenda!!!
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metal February 9th, 2010 12:02 am
William S. Burroughs used to say that there was 'no job so dirty, so foul that you could not find a "#cking" scientist somewhere to do it.' Which is not to say they're all bad. I prefer a good scientist to an economist or a politician any day.

Sibel Edmonds was smart to go public early and big. If she hadn't she might already be dead or in prison on some spurious charge. Even though she didn't get a lot of MSM TV coverage she did get bursts of print media coverage in the "papers of record" and she raised enough of a stink to get heard by a few senior Democratic members of Congress and then wrote several articles and started her own organization and website. She's too out and well-known by the human antennae of the political establishment for the night crawlers to get her. They deal with people like her by ordering their mass media to ignore her. The general public never heard of her therefore she doesn't exist.
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Q February 9th, 2010 12:21 am
Chris Hedges was interviewed by Sibel recently. Check out her excellent podcast; Sibel Edmonds Boiling Frogs. Also Scott Horton has interviewed Sibel on antiwar radio. But so few are really listening.
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Kay Johnson February 10th, 2010 9:28 am
Q: Last night, I listened to the Sibel Edmonds/Peter Coillins interview Chris Hedges. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! Excellent!
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Kay Johnson February 9th, 2010 12:07 pm
Thanks for the reference to Sibel Edmonds podcast. I will definitely listen!

I think that Metal is correct when he states that she was smart to come out early. I also remember that she and Daniel Ellsberg appeared together a few times.
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 6:28 pm
You are closer to the truth than 99.9% of the population could ever consider.
Check out tonight's guest on Coast to Coast AM discussing electronic harassment:
http://www.satweapons.com/
Along with free energy, manipulation of the human mind, on an individual (MK Ultra) and mass (HAARP) scale is SO fantastic that who's going to believe it?
It's been around since the 50's and I suspect our buddy Kim Jong Il has played around with the technology a little too much on himself.
I suspect the use of these technologies on very bright individuals like Siddiqui is exactly what the shadow Gvt. has been doing for decades, kicking them to the curb once their usefulness has waned.
People don't know the half of what is meant by "Assymetric Warfare" and "Full Spectrum Dominance"
They are warring on our very mind.
But exploding boobs sells copy and the Goy look no further than that to be afraid.
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metal February 8th, 2010 7:08 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

"....and the Goy look no further than that to be afraid." ???

Does this mean all the right-wing American Zionist Mitnagdim don't?
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clovis February 8th, 2010 6:07 pm
Great post, poet. Let's not forget Zacharias Moussaoui as well, who was completely off his rocker from all the 'enhanced interrogation' by the time he came to trial. Moussaoui was the one whose laptop was confiscated by the FBI, who were then slapped down by higher-ups in Washington and told they were not allowed to open it. Maybe he too knew a few damning things before his brain got scrambled?
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Kitaj February 8th, 2010 5:22 pm
One never knows if and when such games are being played, but it is certainly possible.
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TheProf February 8th, 2010 4:34 pm
"At the trial 3 of 4 psychiatric experts concurred that she was faking mental illness." It seems that Siddiqui did not help her case by outbursts in court regarding terror plots. The prosecution reported that the Afghans took her into custody due to notes "referring to mass-casualty attacks and New York landmarks," hardly relevant to the case being tried. "The judge denied a motion for a mistrial. The trial took an unusual turn when an FBI official asserted that the fingerprints taken from the rifle, which was purportedly used by Aafia to shoot at the U.S. interrogators, did not match hers."

"According to Pakistani newspaper The News International the Taliban have threatened to execute US soldier Bowe Bergdahl in retaliation for Siddiqui's conviction"

Wikipedia is worth checking.

It seems this lady was mentally unstable and unfit for trial.
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 4:55 pm
"Mentally unstable and unfit for trial". I can imaine that might be true after five years of torture and solitary confinement, the loss of two of her children, one an American citizen, being dumped on the street, and then re-arrested because she was making raving threats of revenge and tried on a clearly false charge, after being shot twice in the stomach. Can't we see and feel, as American citizens and, hopefully, aware human beings, the surreal torture this person has been put through and just exactly what filthy, amoral and degenerate practices our taxes are paying for?
Tony Vodvarka
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Kitaj February 8th, 2010 5:38 pm
I agree. This extremely toxic mixture of fundamentalist christianity, fundamentalist capitalism and imperial militarism has resulted in an almost psychotic mind-set and worldview amongst the Imperial operatives at the heart of the Military-Industrial-Financial-Media Complex, and it is this psychosis that U.S. forces are unleashing and inflicting on innocent people all over the world. This worldview is so insane that the people *inside* it dont even know how existentially insane they are.

But there is more. I think elites all over the world know that the global industrial system is going to collapse, and what we are really seeing behind all of the various insanities is the elites grabbing what they can while there is still something to grab, not giving a damn what kind of damage they do and how many people they kill, and this mind-set is slowly spreading everywhere as the human race approaches global catastrophe if we do not radically change our adaptation to existence.

Check out this article by Richard Heinberg:

http://www.postcarbon.org/article/67429-china-or-the-u-s-which-will
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 6:20 pm
Well stated.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 6:03 pm
Very astute and frightening article. Wish I could disagree with it, but I cannot.

Well worth a read, but not if one is already in a depressed mood.

A sniplet: >>....In addition to its huge debt burden, the U.S. also suffers from a shrinking manufacturing base, a big trade deficit, eroding quality of education, and a foreign policy that serves the interests of arms manufacturers while undermining the long-term interests of the nation. Regarding the last of these items, a 2006 World Public Opinion poll showed large majorities in four leading ally nations (Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, and Indonesia), together accounting for a third of the Muslim world's population, believe the U.S. is determined to destroy or undermine Islam. Within those countries, most people surveyed support attacks on American targets. And it just so happens that most of the world's future oil supplies will be coming from Muslim nations. Brilliant.<<

Gary

“Disaster is a natural part of my evolution. Toward tragedy and dissolution.”
-- Chuck Palahniuk
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RV February 8th, 2010 5:53 pm
"I think elites all over the world know that the global industrial system is going to collapse ..."

At the least, they are very much aware that a major shift in the global power structure is on the near horizon and are scurrying madly to secure for themselves whatever they perceive as possible salvation from moment to moment.

So-called "collateral damage" has never been a significant consideration. It's just more prevalent and noticeable during "periods of adjustment" to use their own terminology.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 5:13 pm
Sioux Rose

TONY: Thank you for your genuine humanity! Everything you said is so painfully true!

POET: Great post. You definitely played sleuth on this one with class!
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 5:36 pm
When do we get really angry? One gets tired of anger, there is so much out there, but occasionally something like this comes up, so stinking, so vile and transparently evil, so unaccountable, that it is hard to know what to do.
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RV February 8th, 2010 4:53 pm
Perhaps they're running low on mentally stable 'terrorists' that can be brought to face U.S. 'justice' and a jury of their 'peers.' For that matter, has anyone checked the mental stability of the prosecuting authorities recently?
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 7:47 pm
Haaaaaaaaa
Or checked to see what meds they are on?
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ElfinArcher February 8th, 2010 4:26 pm
Stay healthy everyone.
Health is your #1 priority.
Healthy and informed.
Every healthy body will eventually be required for the next Runnymede.
Do you think we will EVER pack the DC mall again like back in the 60's?
There is and has been a better way for decades.
The better way is not in the interest of profits and control of the goy.
Play dumb and hands at the 10 & 2 while driving.
The King and his Knights do not like serfs who sass back.
And I DO feel bad for anyone who has brown skin or middle eastern features in this country.
Seriously, I'm a white dude with blue eyes and the state probably considers me a threat.
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aremagen February 8th, 2010 4:06 pm
"..permitting jailers, spies, kidnappers and assassins to operate outside of the rule of law contaminates us with our own bile...have created a system of internal...state terrorism far more dangerous than Islamic radicals."

Our "noble minded" leaders do not care in the least about what physical danger we in. You can tell that by the food, health-care, consumer and environmental laws we all live under.

This country's corporate/gov't does not deserve our allegiance any longer. They deserve only our contempt and need to be resisted and defeated in order to save the majority.
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Swami Monkeypooh February 8th, 2010 6:38 pm
"They deserve only our contempt and need to be resisted and defeated in order to save the majority."

What does it look like to resist and defeat the "country's corporate/gov't"? How do you propose to dissolve your allegiance? Sarah Palin suggests we need a new "revolution". Her words are empty rhetoric. I doubt she knows what she is saying. You, I assume, are much brighter. So what do you suggest?
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aremagen February 8th, 2010 7:54 pm
I propose to dissolve my allegiance to the leaders of this country, not allegiance to democracy.

A person can start out by simply withdrawing any support whatsoever from the R & D parties. You help the ones on the bottom, you automatically help the ones on the top.

There are other political parties; socialist, green, that you can vote for even though they won't win. It would be a protest (resistance) vote.

Pick an organization that is apolitical and support their efforts like Nader's organizations.

Write letters to the editor and voice your displeasure with the two-party system.

Whenever you get mail from the Ds or Rs write Return on the envelope, mail it and make them pay for it.

I plan to write Senator Durbin from Illinois and tell them that if he votes for health-care reform without a public option or SB 7139 (a law which will automatically bailout any future bank failures) that I will vote for neither the new D Senator nor the D Governor.

I haven't voted for a D since 1988.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 5:18 pm
Sioux Rose

AREMAGEN: So true! "Unsafe at any speed" on steroids! And that's why, in fiction, I cloned Ralph Nader. We'd need a LEGION of him, clones of a modern equivalent of David to stand up to so many industrial Goliaths. Luckily, nature, source of so much of the wealth claimed by these "artificial persons" has about had it with the abuse... and when the great Mother gets fed up, a whole lotta shakin starts goin on.
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Jack Chase February 8th, 2010 6:14 pm
Sioux Rose

I look forward to your comments. Thank you for them. I bet you've read Ceanne DeRohan. I'm not conventionally religious yet I feel that the only way out of this is Divine intervention. I concur, Mother nature always wins.
Seems you've written fiction. Re: the reading thereof. Where, what, how?
PeaceLoveTruthBeauty!
Jack Chase
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 7:03 pm
Sioux Rose

JACK CHASE: I've been writing movie scripts since 1995 and so far not sold a thing. Since I believe in my work (and a few friends have told me they're quite good), I began self-publishing some of these scripts, converted into novels. One is entitled, "The Caretakers," and another, "To See Among The Blind." I just completed a second edition of a very humorous children's book (for "children of all ages"), entitled, "Cassandra's Tale." It makes use of insects to portray the twelve original archetypes, a/k/a Zodiac signs and each one's unique character. It's my idea of a way to teach children the great circle, heaven's model of democracy in which the long-standing ism divisions may be at last transcended. It also offers the ancient recipe, the key one that bypasses the nonsensical "one size fits all" approach of our times. In contrast it reflects the unique and Divine purposes assigned to each of the 12 sacred paths. Jesus chose 12 disciples and Abraham founded 12 tribes. This "12 thing" has a certain cosmic ring to it!

If you google my name, my website pops up with info on all my books. I have written eight, with two anticipated ones now in development. I appreciate your asking and of course, am thankful for your complimentary acknowledgement!
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Jack Chase February 8th, 2010 10:50 pm
Thank you Sioux Rose, way. I will look them up. My heart dilates reading your and other comments here. I am familiar with the Twelve of twelve thousand. Maybe there is something to the metaphysical/spiritual reading I've been doing since teenage days, oh so long ago. As an artist whose income has been turned off like a faucet, thinking it's not called making a living for nothing, and not too happy about, nor ready for, the alternative, I hope I can hang on to see Mother in all Her glory, where She needs to be, again.

"Trust those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it." Andre Gide

Jack Chase
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:17 pm
Sioux Rose

JACK: I can appreciate the status of "starving artist" as our nation does not reward its artists, mystics, poets, visionaries, or inventors. If you go to my site and read the blurbs on the books I have available and then email me, I'd be happy to send you one gratis copy of your choice. If I did what I did for the money, I'd have quit long ago! Like the commercial for Levy's Rye Bread done years ago, I, too "answer to a higher authority."
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One Marxist February 8th, 2010 1:58 pm
Mr Spock:

"No sign of intelligent life here, one to beam up."
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Ephraim February 8th, 2010 1:53 pm
We can speculate for years as to Siddiqui's guilt or innocence but the fascists in the military and the FBI have muddied the waters so much that we'll never know the truth, which is a central element to their strategy. Have "witnesses" tell a hundred conflicting stories, then throw her in prison regardless of substantial evidence. That's how we handle accused terrorists. They're guilty the moment they're accused, taking a page from Kafka. Soon we'll all be Joseph K.

Siddiqui is just a scapegoat to illustrate a point. In the phony war on terror, anyone anywhere may be snatched up for extraordinary rendition or assassinated in broad daylight to drive the lesson home: Remain in fear of terrorism or risk being accused of it yourself. Obama endorses this terrorism practiced on the public at large. How many more lives will he destroy in this delusional war on "terror", where those allegedly fighting the war are the REAL terrorists? The president being terrorist in chief.
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clovis February 8th, 2010 2:43 pm
Ephraim: "Remain in fear of terrorism or risk being accused of it yourself."

That pretty well sums it up.

Another variant, which we could call the Cass Sunstein Law, might be: "Believe in terrorism, or you are a terrorist."
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RV February 8th, 2010 2:10 pm
"The president being terrorist in chief."

Good grief! Let us not award any addtitional titles to an office with powers that already exceed those that absolute monarchs of days gone by could only dream of in their wildest imaginings. A jeweled crown is the only missing item, and even Caesar was smart enough to reject such an obvious symbol of tyrannical power.

Perhaps he could get away with a small laurel wreath and maybe a codpiece for certain military occasions.
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Old Peculiar February 8th, 2010 5:18 pm
Hah! Been there, seen that.

Codpiece = Mission Accomplished
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RV February 8th, 2010 1:28 pm
"These abuses, justified by the war on terror, have created a system of internal and external state terrorism that is far more dangerous to our security and democracy than the threat posed by Islamic radicals."

The problem as always, Mr Hedges, is the so-called justification.

The 'war to end war' had a much nicer ring to it. Even 'making the world safe for democracy' had some appeal despite the questionable credentials of its primary advocates. But the jingoist sloganeers have fallen short ever since.

I suppose it's increasingly difficult to find any positive bases for aggressive warfare in a nation that so exemplifies every negative value imaginable. So fighting to alleviate the pervasive terror of the citizenry will have to do, I guess, even 'tho the great preponderance of that terror, both internal and external, originates within the state that is allegedly leading the fight against it.

One wonders at times whether a more honest 'U.S. war for the expansion of multinational corporate interests with no allegiance to any country' might not work just as well with the largely indifferent American populace. It would certainly save a lot of global wincing at such obviously phony American propaganda.
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coolhead February 8th, 2010 1:24 pm
Being able to "convict" a Muslim woman of terror-related charges is incredibly important to our genocidal crusade called "war on terror". A conviction like this wins over milions of US hearts and opens them up to tolerate bombings of houses filled with women and children, in an effort to terrorize locals into fleeing, or putting down their arms against the mammoth aggressor.
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metal February 8th, 2010 1:02 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

"And where are the other two children, one of whom also is an American citizen?"

"Siddiqui’s defense team pointed out that there was an absence of bullets, casings or residue from the M4, all of which suggested it had not been fired. They played a video to show that two holes in a wall supposedly caused by the M4 had been there before July 18."

This is most probably a standard CIA/military cover-up for a botched hand-over from the CIA torturers to the Military & FBI for what they originally hoped would be a Military Tribunal Commissions trial they could kite into a propaganda coup (with an even grander fabricated terrorist plot) they could pimp to the corporate McNews whores. It probably went bad when she panicked and tried to flee the police station unarmed so, bullet-heads and cowards that they are, one of them panicked and shot her so they had to re-rig the story from there on.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 6:12 pm
Sound like a reasonable scenario except by her own account she did not try to flee but simply stood up and frightened the CIA and FBI cowards (convinced by their own propaganda to be over-wary of suspected "terrorists"); who then shot her in the stomach, and tried to cover-up their error.

And succeeded in doing so.

Gary

“You should treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster”
-- Quentin Crisp
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glenn ford February 8th, 2010 12:49 pm
It is a challenge to be simultaneously aware of the massive horrors being implemented worldwide,from death, to control,to theft and still not be sickened.

I am curious if people who experienced the Great Depression and Hilters greatest depth of power perceive today as worse.

Would a tax revolt actually starve the government or would they just print more money, and would that create hyper-inflation?

Does all the money borrowed, in the form of treasury bonds,which has the USA at the economic mercy of China, maintain the trade deficit or does it support the yearly budget also?
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Basenjis February 8th, 2010 11:52 pm
As I recall the Great Depression from my childhood and the end of the Hitler regime as a young war widow, those times were so different and the values and interests of ordinary people so different that it might as well have been a different world as well as a different time.

When the full exposure of the results of Hitler's pathology and the full truth of the results of the twisted minds that conceived of such evil were revealed, ordinary Americans recoiled in horror and disbelief. It was not as though no one had never known such unspeakable things had ever happened before. We knew, but they had happened far away in what we thought of as less civilized, almost imaginary places that seemed totally removed from the familiar USA.

For my generation, having had husbands and brothers, uncles and cousins, and all the young men we had grown up with, fighting and dying to make the world safe for all of us back home the final revelations of Hitler's barbarity made it all seem up close and personal. But we all knew such insanity would never be unleashed on the world again for we would never allow it to happen. We were sure of that.

Life in America in these times may be good for some people, but for too many, it is worse, much worse than I ever remember. The economic conditions, however, bad as they are, still allow for many more ordinary families to live much better than the average family in the depths of the Great Depression. The deprivation of the 30's was so wide-spread that almost everyone was affected and in such a way that, as the old saying goes, you'd just have had to be there to understand. I remember when my mother was thrilled to get a new broom at Christmas. Forget new clothes, toys, or new anything. That continued through the Great War as everything was rationed.

But that was all right as we knew things would get better--which is the difference between these dreary economic times and these. Not much of a sense of hope today. When I was growing up wearing hand-me-down shoes and dreaming of the wonderful things I was going to do and all the wonderful places I would go when I grew up, we all knew things were going to get better--and in the meantime, we dreamed, we shared and we coped. We also had a president who gave wonderful fireside radio talks that pulled the whole country together and made us feel he shared in our problems and was working to make things better. Today's dreams, in contrast, have largely given way to anxiety about an uncertain future for children and young people.

There is a loss of faith today that corrodes and undermines the public trust to the point almost of mass paranoia. We've been lied to and decieved by people we should be able to trust for so long that lies seem to substitute for public policy. Small wonder that new conspiracy theories arise every day. Nothing, as it turns out, is ever what it appears to be. We vote for one thing and get another. We can't be sure our vote is counted and we feel certain our voices are not heard. Books are being written by professionals who warn us of the taking over of big business and public power by psychopaths who masquerade as sympathetic to populist causes while conning the unwary. The union itself seems to be coming unglued. We are trapped in endless, senseless, contrived, brutal wars and the powers that be openly speak of wars of the future. These futile wars have been going on almost continuously since my youth and still they continue at enormous cost of lives and of treasure into my old age.

I think America has lost its way and I grieve for my country, but I do not for one minute believe all is lost. If we look at the past, it becomes more and more clear that history has valuable lessons to teach us if we can just pay close attention to those lessons. We have choices. Nothing remains the same for long and it is pointless to try to cling to notions of what we have lost or to wish to return to what we think of as better times. But we can build a better future if we make wiser choices.

Most human beings are better people than they are made out to be and want a better world. Why should the peaceful, hardworking majority be dominated and manipulated by the elite minority? We need to have a government that represents the needs of the people instead of catering to those who are lost in some fantasy of great riches or world domination. A better world is not only possible for those who now despair, but we may be on the very threshold of change. Let it happen peacefully.

There is already a collective grass roots awakening to the need for genuine change--not only in the way we are governed, but in the way we think and of what we value as a people. I keep hoping these transformations will come, and come soon--but doubt it will happen from the top down but rather from the bottom up--from the people themselves. I may not be here to see it, but I have a lot of faith in the new generations now coming up.
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Basenjis February 9th, 2010 7:18 pm
May I add that these are my thoughts on the 65th anniversary of the death of my young husband, a commando in WWII. He lost his life in Luxemburg on Feb. 8, 1945 parachuting ahead of the US forces in the final stages of the Battle of the Bulge. He was 21 years old. My 19 year old brother was killed 4 month earlier in France.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:43 pm
Sioux Rose

BASENJIS: Wonderful and enlightened post. Thank you for still believing in the higher spirit of humankind, and for sharing the powerful witness of your own personal experience and wisdom.
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GwNorth February 9th, 2010 12:25 am
Thank you for taking the time to express your ideals. Good stuff.
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Madhoosier February 9th, 2010 12:01 am
Thank You for your comment
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metal February 9th, 2010 12:11 am
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

Excellent comment, Basenjis.
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gdgoodman February 8th, 2010 6:17 pm
>>Does all the money borrowed, in the form of treasury bonds,which has the USA at the economic mercy of China, maintain the trade deficit or does it support the yearly budget also?.<<

Both of these I am pretty sure is based upon borrowed money, but then the government for half the year is operating on the cuff.

Gary

“I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.”
-- Thomas Jefferson
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mtdon February 8th, 2010 2:04 pm
we already have had massive inflation in housing..... in the 1970's and 80's you could get a nice house for around 1.5 times your income...... Now you can get a decent house for around 10 times your income.....

and there went your discresionary income......

I call it the 20 dollar rule..... every utility, insurance policy etc wants that last 20 dollars from my wallet.....

the problem is THEY ALL WANT IT - leaving me bankrupted on the side of the road in the ditch.....greedy bastards!
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rfloh February 8th, 2010 4:50 pm
Some points about the inflation in house prices:

At the same time that property prices have massively inflated, salaries have stayed fairly stagnant.

The result being that people who already own (nice) houses / properties see the value of those properties inflating fast, their monetary wealth goes up, even if their salaries are stagnant. People who are trying to get a house for the first time, however face huge issues: ever increasing price of housing, combined with stagnant salaries.

This economic policy of inflating land prices, while holding down the cost of labour, has been ongoing for the last 30 years.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 5:21 pm
Sioux Rose

RFLOH: In Florida BOTH are going down at the same time. Care to wager a prediction on what that will lead to?
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 1:28 pm
The government IS going to print more money because it must to pay off the bonds which support both trade and budget deficits.

"I am curious if people who experienced the Great Depression and Hilters greatest depth of power perceive today as worse."

My mother (79) and aunt (84) are incredulous at the actions of the US Empire and say it no longer represents them. I second their opinions and have written that the federal government has effectively seceded from the states that created it.
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glenn ford February 8th, 2010 2:21 pm
Thanks Karlof
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waiguoren February 8th, 2010 12:02 pm
This epigraph form Hedges' "Empire of Illusion" says it well:

"We had fed the heart on fantasy,

The heart's grown brutal from the fare."

William Butler Yeats
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mcoyote February 8th, 2010 11:11 am
Standard procedure in The Homeland.

Welcome To The Homeland

Welcome to Germany
Welcome to the Hyper-White Techno-Evangelical Inquisition.

800 billion additional dollars to the Lockheed-Halliburton-Raytheon War Machine

Now up to over a trillion dollars for the Brown&Root- Dyncorp- Blackwater Killing Complex;

In addition to the regular 500 million or so a minute for the
Narcotics Trafficking- CIA- Military- Industrial- World's Greatest Polluter- Criminal Think Tank Complex

Small scale tactical nuclear weapons cocktails
served up to brown skinned children
with distended bellies
by well-manicured barbarians in Citadels and Mansions
by their servants in boardrooms
with distended bellies

With 725 military bases
With 350 outposts
In 132 countries
In Every jungle
In Every tree
All baby-faced tamarinds run for cover, hiding in their mother's breasts

America- A fundamentally sick society
America- A culture of conquest

Get out of Iraq Get out of Viet Nam
America get out of Colombia
America get off the Rez
America get out of Afghanistan
America get out of etcetera

America, a fundamentally sick society.

Welcome to Plastic Racist Nation
Welcome to McAmeriWal-Martika
Germany- The Fatherland
America- The Homeland
Welcome to Soft Fascism

General Reinhard Gehlen head of German military intelligence on the Eastern front and his network of spies and terrorists were brought over to the USA after World War 2 in the now well known Operation Paperclip. From these advisers and functionaries, Allen Dulles, copying many of the methods utilized by the likes of Herr Gehlen, shaped what we now know to be the CIA.

Instruments of Statecraft
Counterinsurgency Literature

Strangle Them- Starve Them
Hold an election
Call it Democracy

I pledge allegiance to the United Sports Utility Vehicle
of Der Father- der Home Land of the Fee
Home Land of Wage Slavery
Land of Tidy White Bestiality
A Land of Pre-Ordained Brutality
A Land of Hyper-Tense Entreprenurial Mentality

Overthrow Castro
Overthrow Arbenz
Overthrow Mossadegh
Overthrow Chavez
Overthrow National Sovereignty
Overthrow Dignity

It is time to stop living
The Lie that is America- I Secede
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 6:22 pm
Every word rings true. What else is there to say?
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clovis February 8th, 2010 2:35 pm
I like your poetry, coyote: "Tidy White Bestiality / Pre-Ordained Brutality / Hyper-Tense Entrepreneurial Mentality"

Quite a triad.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 6:26 pm
Reminds me that once upon a time Bob Dylan wrote lyrics as good as that.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 1:58 pm
Sioux Rose

MCOYOTE: Great post! It should be a mantra featured as progressive radio rap!
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mcoyote February 9th, 2010 9:02 am
Thanks Sioux.

Don't write much poetry these days. Wrote this a few years back. Maybe I need to rekindle a flame.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:24 pm
Sioux Rose

MCOYOTE: Looks like the flame is burning brightly. The forum has just given you a standing ovation. Bravo! Now you can write your next poem or opus!
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highkarate February 8th, 2010 12:55 pm
mccoyote,

Great stuff man!

So what if it is negative! So is half of the stuff on here but at least this is creative.

Very well done!

jasondylan
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Obedient Servant February 8th, 2010 12:51 pm
Well, sure, but... how 'bout that Super Bowl? Who dat?

I understand that one of the teams won! Surely THAT will turn your frown upside down!

· Yr Obd't Servant
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iowapinko February 8th, 2010 12:07 pm
By the way, seaglass, your flip dismissal of the moving work of art posted by mcoyote is really frustrating. Read it again, I think you might learn something, geeeeeeeeeeeeeez!
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iowapinko February 8th, 2010 11:51 am
I share your concerns and linger on the tantalising idea of secession.
But I think we need to take some resonsibility for the terror that our nation manifests for others, for the violence and the poverty of both resources and soul that we represent.

What if those of us who want to resist secede through the action of tax-resistance? If enough people had the courage to with-hold economic support, it would slow down their system.
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SEAGLASS February 8th, 2010 11:35 am
Chill dude your going to give yourself a stroke. Its not worth getting yourself so crazed. Your allowing these assholes to defeat u by letting their sheer madness to infect your soul.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:03 pm
Sioux Rose

SEAGLASS: Your implies possession, such as "Please take your coat." You're means you are, and it's a verb. Thus, "You're allowing these..." etc. As a former English teacher, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking poorly of those posts that don't demonstrate even a 5th grade educational level in their use of grammar and diction. And you sure sound like someone else on these threads whose whole purpose appears to be the human equivalent of dispensing Prosac. "Stay calm, everyone. Everything is under control. Just extend a little more patience and trust towards your benevolent leaders." Sure...
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 1:33 pm
I disagree. Writing is a form of therapy and helps keep us sane.
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koalaburger February 8th, 2010 11:03 am
A jury trial means being judged by people too dumb to get out of jury duty.
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Madhoosier February 8th, 2010 11:20 am
Plus those that want to fry some ragheads.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:52 pm
I do not want to get out of jury duty. I want to hang a jury in a bullshit drug case.
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Madhoosier February 8th, 2010 11:53 pm
You set your sights too low, given the endless B.S. that Federal prosecutors use to win drug cases such as framing the workers at state approved marijuana distribution outlets as drug kingpins,* it’s my hope to get a jury to return a verdict of Not Guilty.

*While this tactic was common during the administration of George W. Bush supposedly under Obama the Feds will not be going after state sanctioned medical marijuana facilities. It’s my guess that even under the new policy the Feds will still use every dirty trick allowed during the war on drugs to send minor offenders away for years.

The war on drugs laid the entire ground work for destroying the Bill of Rights. Had there not been a million holes shot in the Bill of Rights and the rights of the accused during the war on drugs Bush would not have had such an easy task in shredding the rest of the Bill of Rights
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:37 pm
Sioux Rose

MADHOOSIER: Excellent post. Your final paragraph echoes something I have been also relating for years, and few seem willing or wanting to connect the ominous dots. I am very glad that you see what I have been noticing. I remember standing on the White House lawn for a huge anti-Vietnam war protest with thousands of long-hairs, and lots of joints going around. Plus we burned effigies of Richard Nixon RIGHT there. The neocons of that time knew they could not block our right to vote, unless they could come up with ways to charge us with breaking laws. So they made the leisure drug of our generation into the great taboo and presto, 2 million incarcerated. (Obviously this is not the only category used to imprison Americans.)Peace-loving peace-pipe passing youth suddenly on the "most wanted" lists for drug-based detention, and a nation of "crimial records" is born, or should I say reborn. And then in some instances this voting block's right to vote has been negated. It's been an insidious little assault on liberty. Now they've worked to erode the very CONCEPT of privacy, starting with the Jerry Springer tell-all, spill-your-guts talk shows, to the "Survivor-styled" public's viewing eyes cast over others' private acts, deeds, and thoughts. From there, it's onto making torture into another entertainment feature, and suddenly, all BASES for civil liberties slip-slide away. The dark side has never lacked for imagination or resourcefulness. All the money pouring in from right wing think tanks, and/or military (DARPA) initiatives and programs poses no shortage to an invasive set of 21st century style tactics, all improvisations upon the old theme of total control of citizens, particularly those capable of stepping out of line in thought or deed. Like us.
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iowapinko February 8th, 2010 10:43 am
km0591,
I hear your despair and frustration with what does seem to be an overwhelming tsunami of evil. And yes, I think we have been a rogue nation for some time now. Very few question an investment in weapons that is greater than all of the other nations of the world COMBINED.

But there ARE those few, who despite overwhelming conditioning, misinformation and manipulation, see through it all to the truth. They are questioning the actions of empire. The seemingly insatiable quest for more, more, more. And there are growing numbers of people who are questioning the plausibility of progress inside our corporate-controlled duopoly.

There are people, like Chris Hedges and like Howard Zinn and like you whose humanity resonates with the fullness of compassion that we were meant to attain.
Yes, knowledge can be isolating and painful. It has always been easier to collaborate than to confront.

I have the sense that we are nearing a precipice of change. We need every single person like you to be at the front vanguard of that change to keep it on the track of human progress.
Don't ever gve up.
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Swza February 8th, 2010 12:21 pm
Thank you for this post. Words like these always make me feel uplifted because I agree with their sentiment. Zinn wrote an article explaining how history is full of unpredictable and sudden revolutions that have exploded out of the bleakest times and I believe and hope this is one of these times.

I too can see a precipice of real change on the horizon. And though it won't happen with this administration I do believe it will happen sooner than most expect.
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dubet February 8th, 2010 10:27 am
from the article:

"The leader of one FBI counterterrorism squad told The New York Times that of the 5,500 terrorism-related leads its 21 agents had pursued over the past five years, just 5 percent were credible and not one had foiled an actual terrorist plot. These statistics strike me as emblematic of the entire war on terror.

Terrorism, however, is a very good business. The number of extremists who are planning to carry out terrorist attacks is minuscule, but there are vast departments and legions of ambitious intelligence and military officers who desperately need to strike a tangible blow against terrorism, real or imagined, to promote their careers as well as justify obscene expenditures and a flagrant abuse of power."

yes, one of the great things about the extortion business is the ability to play both sides concurrently...

if you don't have actual terrorists to justify your expensive, and invasive, 'security', you can BE the terrorist...
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WTF February 8th, 2010 12:32 pm
Don't forget, US defense/security is our largest jobs/welfare program, but don't tell that to Tea Baggers as they hate socialism.
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clovis February 8th, 2010 10:25 am
Good article by Hedges, about a very important case that should be getting more press.

One comment, however. Hedges writes that "the threat posed by Islamic extremists, while real, is also wildly overblown, used to foster a climate of fear and political passivity, as well as pump billions of dollars into the hands of the military, private contractors, intelligence agencies and repressive client governments including that of Pakistan."

This, of course, is true, but he neglects a couple of important aspects of the problem, the first being that it is very much in the interests of Israel and the Zionists in the US to overplay, if not feed, the terrorist threat, as this plays directly into their own scenario of the Middle East problem and helps strengthen the already strong identification of America's interests (an angle much cultivated by the MSM) with those of Israel. Clearly, this aspect of the question is inseparable from the self-feeding needs of the MIC as articulated by Hedges, but it still bears being stated more explicitly.

The other aspect his article neglects is that the Siddiqui "trial," with its clearly false testimony and bizarre background, fits the pattern of trumped-up events, including false confessions obtained by torture and mysterious car bombings that seem to serve only the interests of the occupiers, used by the US government and military to justify wars and military actions that have no clear, irrefutable justification in fact or evidence.

I think both these considerations are essential to a fuller understanding of what this terrible show trial represents.
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 10:30 am
The saddest thing is that which you correctly label "trumped-up events" are swallowed hook, line and sinker by most of our fellow citizens.
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hamster February 8th, 2010 9:55 am
The ones who should have been on trial are the ones who abducted her in the first place. This is madness.
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Erroll February 8th, 2010 9:38 am
What could be the crux of this article is when Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network, accurately point out that, "It is difficult to get a fair trial in this country if the government wants to accuse you of terrorism." As Tony V. notes, not one juror on that trial apparently had the intelligence to question whether the U.S. government could possibly have fabricated the charges against Ms. Siddiqui in order to promote their bogus war on terrorism. Perhaps the solution is to make sure that any trials involving charges of terrorism against individuals, either foreign or domestic, be held on neutral ground to ensure that an American jury will not be swayed by their patriotic emotions. One has to also wonder how much exposure this trial has received in the American corporate media.
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bardamu February 8th, 2010 5:26 pm
It's hard to get even an unfair trial if the government accuses you of terrorism. They disappear people.
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metal February 8th, 2010 1:07 pm
Cicero: "Freedom is participation in power."

There have been scattered reports about the allegations against Ms. Siddiqui, scant intelligent coverage of her trial. This article is the first that I've read that even mentions she has two children who are missing. Few Americans know that we imprisoned and tortured children (and may still do so far as I know) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 1:40 pm
Oh, but in Pakistan, there's lots of press and very large protests that you also didn't hear about. The Pakistanis correctly view the USA as an enemy that's invaded their country, to the point where India is no longer seen as the greatest threat. The current government of Pakistan will not stand much longer unless it starts to actively fight against the USA.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:50 pm
Why can't more people in this country try to imagine themselves in a country that is the subject of all of thus USA bullshit? We seem to think its okay to just go occupy any country we feel like. Well, suppose the US was occupied by, oh, say, China. I guess we'd just love that. We'd just love the government of China wouldn't we?
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Giovanna February 8th, 2010 9:01 pm
Kent,

Thank you for making this point. In its dealings with the international community, US behavior defines the audacity of hypocrisy at full stretch.

Through its arrogant and lofty rhetoric claiming the doctrine of "preventative war," its repeated failure to honor international treaties, resolutions, and laws it finds inconvenient, and by committing acts of naked aggression, terrorism, subversion, and economic interventions in the affairs of sovereign, foreign nations, the US declares itself EXEMPT, with impunity, from the principles of universality, i.e., the application to itself the same standards it applies to others. Per Noam Chomsky, "... if we adopt the principle of universality : if an action is right (or wrong) for others, it is right (or wrong) for us. Those who do not rise to the minimal moral level of applying to themselves the standards they apply to others -- more stringent ones, in fact -- plainly cannot be taken seriously when they speak of appropriateness of response; or of right and wrong, good and evil. ”
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karlof1 February 8th, 2010 5:32 pm
We are occupied by ourselves. Evidence: the Patriot Act and other executive directives combined with no accountibility for the massive law breaking done.

Have you ever considered that Big Brother doesn't watch us; rather, we watch it?
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 9:13 am
It is a sign of our almost complete moral degeneration that this New York jury did not have at least one citizen who refused to convict, causing a hung jury in this travesty of legal procedure. Our government shames us more and more each day.
Tony Vodvarka
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GwNorth February 8th, 2010 11:09 am
Nor would any object during the Salem Witch trials.

The questions is , are American Citizens regressing out of fear of not be seen as part of "The Mob" and thus a traitor , or is it the baseness of the desire to see another SUFFER?

The next time someone suggests you should be ashamed for not supporting US troops in Afghanistan or ridiculed for comparing the US "Officials" to the Gestapo point to this as an example of not only WHY you feel that way but WHERE the mob will go when they put loyalty to Country above loyalty to truth and justice.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:37 pm
Sioux Rose

GWNORTH: You should be a U.S. Senator! Your perspective takes so much into account, if only we had reps like you!

I would add to your thesis the stupidity factor. The mob aspect, or the need for many to go along to get along, as opposed to risking the psychological price of being castigated as an outcast, is of course major. Yet there are so many who truly do not understand, are so enculturated to an authoritarian belief system that they trust what their "leaders" tell them; and they honesty see the world through the prism of good guys and bad, and seldom consider that their own might fall into the camp of the latter. In a word: conditioning, 24/7, the Bernays' dream machine out in full power to manufacture consent and absolutely marginalize all voices of intelligent dissent. As a result, a lot of people really have NO IDEA what's actually at stake, or going on.
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Old Peculiar February 8th, 2010 5:02 pm
Thank you, thank you! Great posts all around.

Sioux Rose, your contributions to this site are invaluable.

I just want to add one of those Seven Deadlies, Sloth, to the equation. It is one of the major human flaws - okay, make that 'Sins' - that allow the Bernaysian conditioning to take hold so completely. To those of us who do our homework, it may seem to be the stupidity factor, but in the end, my compassion takes over and I realize that there are too many variables (education, nurturing, respect - or lack of) that contribute to the corruption of the Human Spirit. Who are we to judge? For when we witness the uncorrupted, mature, Human Spirit it is awesome to behold --- R.I.P. Howard!

And most disturbingly, this laziness of which I speak leads directly to the Savior Syndrome we've been witnessing this past year.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 5:34 pm
Sioux Rose

OLD PECULIAR: This lady lion likes the pat on the head. Gracias. And I fully agree with you. It does warrant compassion to recognize the POTENTIAL of so many persons who instead have, as you put it, let sloth put their urge to learn to sleep. Most of us recall the lines from "The Once and Future King" where Merlin reminds King Arthur that in this world he may see his greatest dream tank, his most cherished love betray him, even his friends turn away. And thus what is the prescription for getting on with this thing, this precious gift called human life? Merlin defined it as learning. As a teacher, I have been interested in that; and as a natural radical given to marching to her own drummer, when I was about to graduate from SUNY at Albany, there was a surplus of teachers in New York State. Thus the protocol was for very strict criteria to be met before one would be licensed. The supervisor who was known to just drop in on te classes of novice, student-teachers had a reputation for strictness. I later learned that indeed he was a Virgo (the sign known for its natural penchant for perfectionism). Anyway, I was wild in those glorious college days, and I partied late at night only to show up to class late. He thought he had my number and warned me. Yet when he walked in on me teaching Shakespeare (I think it was Macbeth) to a group of slow readers, he was essentially mesmerized. He took me to lunch and told me "Seldom have I been more impressed with a classroom demonstration." He then admonished me that I still had to pass his final exam. I got a 97 thanks to an almost photographic memory.

The Bahai faith sees the teacher as one of the few noble professions. And it is the teacher's gift, art, and challenge to inspire that love of learning in students. What's pitted against that ideal currently is the MSM with its mesmerizing powers, the lousy faux food filler that shuts off brain chemistry, and the awful weight of our increasing materialistic obligations in the form of all the dues that "Caesar" claims from our labors and allotment of daily bread. In short, there are no simple cookie cutter answers to what ails us; for the entire society has been inculcated to the most insidious of values. In truth, a good part of the nation functions as do addicts (to a number of substances), and therefore a MASSIVE detox is called for. THAT will be part of the wake-up call the stars tell me is not long in coming.

Thank you for the glowing words. They keep me going as a mostly unacknowledged writer.
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Old Peculiar February 9th, 2010 11:44 am
Beautiful. I look forward to reading that book of yours.
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Siouxrose February 9th, 2010 2:40 pm
Sioux Rose

Old Peculiar: Thank you for your kindness.
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BodhiHawk February 8th, 2010 9:52 am
nicely said.
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petrkrop February 8th, 2010 9:32 am
"Our government shames us more and more each day."

You are right, and also we shame ourselves. The failure of even one juror to refuse to convict is sickening and frightening; not what I would have expected of the supposedly skeptical and savvy citizens of NYC.

It was only six years ago that a jury in Boise, Idaho, refused to convict Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a University of Idaho computer science student and citizen of Saudi Arabia who had been accused of terrorism and visa fraud for building and maintaining Web sites for Islamic groups.

Those 12 Idaho jurors refused to buy the government's lies and refused to be complicit in destroying an innocent man's life, even if he was an Arab. I'm not aware of any other jury in a "terrorist" trial in the U.S. that has shown the integrity and courage of these people in (very) redneck Idaho.

But maybe the feds learned something in Boise, and who's to say that, in this time when the president of the U.S. claims the right to order the murder U.S. citizens abroad, that the jurors in NYC weren't subjected to threats by the CIA? Why would the government stop at jury-tampering, if they're okay with murder?
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clovis February 8th, 2010 10:08 am
Actually, petrkrop, it was probably more a case of the right of lawyers, in the American jury selection process, to exclude any potential juror, for any reason whatsoever, even for no reason at all. And in this case the prosecution probably excluded anyone who appeared to have an IQ above fifty.

I think the Idaho case shows, in any case, that the fringe anti-Fed cowboys of Idaho are actually more hip to the evils that lurk in the nation's capital than are the common citizens of New York City, who are perpetually bombarded with mass media propaganda.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:45 pm
Sioux Rose

CLOVIS: Good points. I would add that the very fact this took place 7 years ago speaks volumes. In those same 7 years the fear-machine has been packaging its own version of the war on terror to such an extent that the entire political axis has shifted further to the right (which of course is fed by fear, in its will to control and render authoritarian "principles" the law of the land). A lot of conditioning has taken place to make sure that most can no longer BE neutral. Propaganda does that over time... like the lie told often enough.
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abvodvarka@yahoo.com February 8th, 2010 10:24 am
Recall also the South Dakota jury that refused to covict the first group of defendants that were accused of murdering FBI agents in the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975 ("The Incident at Ogalala").
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clovis February 8th, 2010 10:26 am
Good point. Thanks for that.
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km0591 February 8th, 2010 9:11 am
The American empire has, for decades, operated without concern for human rights and engaging in numerous abuses both at home and abroad. That is hardly news. However, this has accelerated with a level of impunity as well as level of complicity on the part of our political leadership and "we the people" over the last several years that is new and omnimous.

We are to the point that we have become a rogue nation where power has become its own justification. Elections are now only a show since that power is derived from its own concentration and existence and not from the consent of the governed. A passive and uninformed and misinformed population is well managed with the usual nauseating pieties to "supporting the troops," with the constant drumbeat of fear-mongering, and with the Orwellian appeals for the protection of the "Homeland."

Meanwhile our treasuries of resources: moral, legal, spiritual, and financial are being pillaged to condemn our future and that of future generations to perpetual darkness, fear, despair, and decline.

There is no hope.

We will not self correct since the system is so corrupt and dysfunctional that it can only spin into collapse to then lead to a decidedly grim and uncertain future. All systems social, biological, or physical can reach a point where their decline and disintegration becomes inevitable.

And that's where we are.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:36 pm
Sad to say, very well put. I'm 60. I've seen enough also to know that your commentary is spot on.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:54 pm
Sioux Rose

KM: I agree with your assessment. Some days I feel more positive, in spite of it, than others. But this key is always true: Crisis owns the seeds of new and unique opportunity. Also stated as, "Serendipity favors the prepared mind," and "Necessity is the Mother of invention."

I do not think we have the capacity to imagine what is next. However, the labor process that takes us to this next phase, Phoenix rising in symbolic form, will not be easy or gentle. Still, this climax may signify the lifetime we've all prepared for... where the sum of our past skills, knowledge, and inner know-how come to the fore. Often a person doesn't know what they are made of until some test warrants its demonstration. Such a catalyst runs parallel to the passion Chris Hedges has associated with war in some of his earlier writings. Living on THAT edge can galvanize the individual to produce... or go beyond his or her previous limits. Lots of us will be riding the edge, and thus obtain the opportunity to know "the rush" and exceed ourselves in what its momentum may cast us into creating.
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old goat February 8th, 2010 5:40 pm
I would add observations of Buckminster Fuller - synergy - alignment is an observable dynamic along the lines of Serendipity favoring the prepared mind.

Each generation has what it needs to for mystical allignment - love. It requires attention and exercise, particularly in tough situations.

We each see a portion, as we are part of a greater whole. The greater whole being the stuff of our being, we know the greater whole 'in our bones'.

Faith is not blind, it sees with the third eye.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 7:08 pm
Sioux Rose

OLD GOAT: Your references support the points I attempted to make. Thank you for bringing your insights to the forum. Naturally, I agree!
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Oikos February 8th, 2010 11:14 am
It's very bad, indeed. Trouble, big trouble, is on the horizon.
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Memory_Hole February 8th, 2010 10:26 am
Well put. But new life will come from rot and decay. Eventually corrupt systems disintegrate, and are replaced by something better; and this is something to hope for. It is time for us to start imagining what replaces "the system."
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 2:59 pm
Sioux Rose

MEMORY: Excellent post!

Some young women fear child birth, and some die during its course. Others imagine what it will be like to hold a brand new baby (fresh from the heavens) in their arms. If we focus on the fire as opposed to the Phoenix, we may shortcircuit our own roles as potential mid-wives to this huge, inevitable process, or Transition, that is already in beginning stages. Labor, anyone?
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DCH February 8th, 2010 11:21 am
Not necessarily.

The Weimar Republic was replaced with NAZI's in post WWI Germany.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 3:03 pm
Sioux Rose

DCH: And now it is one of the more enlightened nations, having learned from the scars of war! When I spent time in Nepal at a Buddhist monastery with 80 people from around the world studying meditation, it was a young German guy (who I affectionately nick-named Copernicus) who impressed me more than anyone else in the group. There were times when we were privileged to put questions to the high monks via translators. His were so profound, and evidenced a universal consciousness. That type of mind no longer sees the nation-state as the be-all, end-all, but rather utilizes its unique cultural identity to lend its efforts to improving the world for ALL. What a great mind that young man from Germany had. And I'd like to think there were many others like him. To me, he was an ambassador of the ad hoc sort.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:44 pm
"And now it is one of the more enlightened nations, having learned from the scars of war!"

That is the problem in a nutshell. The U.S. has never since the civil war suffered massive war destruction, comparable to Europe after WWII. That kind of destruction does tend to turn one against war as a solution for anything.
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km0591 February 8th, 2010 10:52 am
Thanks. I would certainly hope that something better comes into being.

I find it hard to be hopeful on that though, since societies in decline and disintegration are usually obsessed with the security to obtain increasingly scarce and unpredictable resources as well as personal and collective security.

These fears and obsessions stifle the creativity that could create a more functional order. Instead, they foster individual and collective authoritarian impulses that seek to somehow bring order and predictability to the progressive instability and insecurity that these situations present. Think France after the fall of the Ancien Régime, Kerensky Russia, or Weimar Germany...

Sorry for the pessimism.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 3:13 pm
Sioux Rose

KM: I read somewhere that about one-third of the world's people believe in reincarnation. If you can entertain that possibility, then tragic as it may be, it's clear that a lot of people are checking out. Some may have agreed, on higher planes prior to this lifetime's inception, to be martyrs, those that risked being taken by the dark acts of war, so that humanity would (through the witness of their suffering) at last learn to place war outside its lexicon entirely. The tsunami that struck Thailand several years ago took 250,000 in a relative blink of an eye, then the quake in Pakistan took 65,000 (or a figure in that ballpark), added to this recent horrific event in Haiti, taking 200,000. And then there are the nebulous statistics of losses from America's "war against terror," while playing the lead role AS terrorist.

We know the planet cannot maintain the high numbers given the present species of consumption, a pattern being marketed worldwide. Whilst the rich nations and their wealthiest elites are the greatest offenders on the scale of ecological damage, even poor persons deplete their forests and lose the top soil necessary for viable agriculture.

Please do not take this post to suggest that I condone these losses. Rather, due to their awful pain and often equal basis in folly, I seek a higher understanding of why so much pain and loss of life (even throughout entire ecosystems) is so rabidly underway.

50 years from now our planet may have a reduced population, and I believe, far saner just systems of global governance, not of the authoritarian type, but those that truly gather the regions' leaders together to make decisions based on genuine consensus. It reminds me of the design related by Ken Keyes in "Return of the Bird Tribes." I like to think of earth as a time-share vacation plan, and knowing I will come back, I try to keep my little area in good shape. Perhaps others might do likewise if they understood they will return. Immortality alters the way we look at the potentials of our kind suspended in a journey based on a life to life continuum.
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Kent Shaw February 8th, 2010 3:42 pm
"50 years from now our planet may have a reduced population"

My fear and speculation is that the planet's population will be greatly reduced and living on a still smoking and irradiating cinder. No weapon has ever been invented that has not been used full-on in warfare. Of course, perhaps, a real nuclear disarmament will transpire, but I find that highly unlikely. I hope for future generations' sake I'm wrong.
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Siouxrose February 8th, 2010 4:04 pm
Sioux Rose

KENT: Have you ever heard of Pat Rodegast who channeled two books, Emmanuel I and Emmanuel II? I had the privilege of sitting in on a session in New Paltz, New York maybe 15 years ago. The majority of attendants were psychologists and professionals in the healing fields. We were all asked to place a question on a tiny piece of paper and drop it into a hat. Then the channel's assistant would read the question, and Pat, opening herself to this discarnate source of wisdom would speak, and answer it. Someone in the group mentioned a nuclear-based WWIII; and while the answer given some time ago may no longer apply (?), it was, "Divine Intervention will not allow it."

Science can deliver many things, and yet there are many things it cannot answer. Religion, too cloaked in authoritarian creeds, misses the boat on many spiritual things. In my view, the mystic stands at the gap between the two. I truly believe in a Divine Order, and I see its evidence everywhere in nature, though less so with human beings who, in utilizing their gift of free will, create such dasdardly things for one another to cope with. (And many wonders, too!) You've probably heard my often long explanations that equate society's exaltation of Mars (unconscious, of course) with so much war, violence, YOY policies, and an utter breakdown of society, with true love quite rare in this world.

I hope Emmanuel's response is still viable; for if not, what you describe as the dead burning crisp of a once placental, green paradise... would not be fit for any life forms but the insects that possibly learned their blood-sucking ways in a previous phase when human beings again chose weapons/arms over joining hands. And the meek inherited the earth.
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FrankS February 8th, 2010 10:23 am
I fully agree - at age 66, I've seen enough of the dynamic you describe to know you've hit the nail on the head!
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